Snow Angels


by Saber ShadowKitten
Holidays: Part 1



Spike was having fun.

It had been over a month since he got into a knock-down, drag-out fight and this one was a beauty. The local ‘constabulary,' consisting of eight vampires, had been sent to remove the ‘Spike situation' again, as he was told by one of the uglies he was fighting.

"The sound of breaking bones," Spike said as he snapped one of the vampire's legs. "Music to my ears."

Grabbing the next nearest attacker, Spike spun them both just as another tried to stake him in the back. The vamp he was holding burst into dust. Spike snatched the stake out of the other's hand before the air had a chance to clear.

Whirling , he lashed his foot out, catching the newly unarmed vamp across the face, sending him crashing to the ground. A fourth one wrapped his arms around Spike's neck, but the peroxide blond shoved the stake under his arm, catching the attacker off guard. Spike grinned happily as he exploded into dust.

He dove and rolled as a fifth swung a stop sign like a sword, landing in a crouch next to the one with the broken leg. "Hello, mate," Spike greeted cheerfully as he grabbed the downed vampire's arm and broke it in two. "Stay put, I have a message for you," he instructed, bouncing lightly to his feet.

He shot one arm out and caught the pole attached to the stop sign as the vampire tried to behead him again. With a wink, Spike shoved the sign back, causing the metal pole to embed itself in his opponent's stomach.

"That's gotta hurt," he said sarcastically. He ducked as the attacker whose stake Spike had stolen threw a punch. "Thought you could sneak up on me, eh mate?" he asked, launching his own series of punches, ending with a stake to the heart.

Three of the good squad had been hanging back, but now with two of their brethren down and three dusted, they charged. Spike went down as they tackled, loosing the stake, but he quickly rolled to his feet. Immediately, he shot his foot out to the right. The vamp he caught with his kick went flying back, hitting the alley wall.

He ducked as another swung, then grabbed the extended arm and twisted, throwing the vamp over Spike's shoulder to the ground. He removed a stake from his pocket, one Buffy had left behind that morning, and dusted him. At the same time, he extended his leg back, knocking the remaining tag team member away.

Somersaulting forward, Spike sprang to his feet and pick up the vampire he'd thrown against the alley wall. He headbutted the vamp, then threw him at the last standing one. They fell to the ground in a heap.

Exhilarated, Spike grabbed the pole of the stop sign still embedded in one of the attackers. He pulled and it came out with a squishing sound, along with several non-used organs. "Sorry ‘bout that," Spike said, then swung the stop sign, cleaving off the bleeding vampire's head.

He continued the spin, using the sign as momentum and launched it at the remaining two. Spike followed right after it, punching and staking them in quick succession.

Brushing off his pants, Spike stood and sauntered over to the last of the vampires, who had followed the master's instructions and had not moved. He cradled his broken arm, decidedly nervous at the barely injured Spike.

"Now then, mate," he said, pocketing the stake and helping the injured vamp to his feet. "I have a message for you to deliver. Tell Trick that I'm not leaving. Ever." The other vampire nodded. "Good. Go off with you now," he gestured towards the end of the alley. The vamp shot Spike a frightened glance, then began to hobble off. He got to the mouth of the alley when Spike's voice halted him.

"One more thing," he said. "The Slayer…I'm staking my claim on her. She's mine." The last was said with deadly intent, and the other vampire shivered, then continued on his way.



Part Five




"Why do you look like you just ate James Van Der Beek?"

"What's that, pet?" Spike asked the Slayer, clearly confused. It was still early when they had ‘accidentally' run into each other in the park, and Buffy was amused by his joyful air.

"Dawson? From Dawson's Creek, the TV show?" Buffy clarified.

"You know, he would be someone I would like to eat," Spike replied. "Annoying bugger. I like that Pacey bloke, though. Banging the teacher…" he grinned at the thought. "The guy who plays him…what's his bloody name…he was in those Ducks movies with Billy the Kid. Now, there's a mate I admire."

"You knew Billy the Kid?" Buffy asked incredulously. "I thought you were in Europe for most of your unlife."

"I meant the actor, pet," he answered. "One of the Sheens. The father was in Apocalypse Now and Gettysburg, both marvelous pictures if I recall."

"Oh," Buffy said, feeling like the dumbest blond in the world. "My bad." Spike only flashed a sexy grin and rocked back on his heels. "So…um, why do you have such a happy?"

"Can't a chap be in a good mood without causing suspicion?"

"If it were anyone else but you."

"Maybe I'm thinking about what I'm going to do to you in about thirty seconds," he replied.

Buffy flushed and her breath caught in anticipation. Her tongue shot out unconsciously, moistening her lips and her heart began to thump in her chest.

Spike could hear her heart racing, the blood pounding in her veins. In three quick steps he had her in his arms, brutally punishing her mouth with his own. He pushed his hands into her hair, tangling the strands on his long fingers, holding her face to his. He couldn't get enough of her.

Buffy slid her arms around his narrow waist, under his coat and gripped his black T-shirt. The coolness of his lips was in sharp contrast with her own, sending bolts of longing and hunger through her system. He broke the kiss, moving one hand to push her coat and shirt from her left shoulder. He began to kiss his way up the side of her neck, latching onto her ear, nibbling and sucking the pierced lobe. She arched into him and he growled deep in his throat at the contact.

Spike moved back down the slope of her neck, his features transforming. He sliced the surface of her skin with his fangs, then let his face slide back into its human mask, licking and sucking where the blood welled. Buffy shivered at the touch of his fangs, but not out of fear. The slight pain she felt was instantly replaced by intense pleasure as his tongue worked its magic on her creamy skin. She inhaled sharply as he gently bit her shoulder with his blunt teeth, pushing her hands up under his shirt in excitement.

Her warm fingers skimmed over his back, lightly scratching with her nails. Spike pressed himself against her, his arousal straining the material of his black jeans. He wanted to bury himself deep inside her, to feel the heat surround him, engulf him. He raised his head and gave Buffy another searing kiss, only to tear his mouth away to convey his desire with a harsh voice.

"I want you. Now."

At Buffy's nod, he picked her up and smashed her to a tree. Her legs wrapped themselves around his waist as he ground against her, plundering her mouth with his tongue. All tenderness was lost to hunger and need as Spike shoved a hand between them, ripping her panties away. He freed his aching member and shoved it into her hot, wet body with one ferocious thrust.

His head flew back as the fire of her core overwhelmed him, growling in pleasure. He slammed into her with all his strength, bruising their pelvises when he hit. It was not certain who went first, only that Buffy's screams echoed his own hoarse shout as they climaxed, her inner muscles clenching around him as he spilled his seed deep inside of her.

Spike was the first to break the hushed silence. "Cor, luv. I'm surprised I haven't bloody combusted because of you."

Buffy blushed as she unwrapped her legs from around his waist and lowered to the ground. Spike took a deep, unneeded breath, then adjusted their clothing. He planted a hard, possessive kiss on her lips, then stepped back, a slightly dazed, wild gleam in his blue eyes. He started to say something, but changed his mind, lighting up a cigarette instead.

"Those things'll kill you," Buffy said with a straight face. He blinked and then frowned as his mind tried to catch up with what she said. She started to giggle, leading to an all-out laugh as a light came on behind his eyes.

"Very funny, Slayer," he said, talking a deep drag. "You should be more concerned for your own health."

"Are you going Basic Instinct on me?" she asked, clearly non-pulsed by his words. "Because let me tell you, I can take you any day."

"I beg to differ, kitten," he replied. "After all, I just ‘took' you here in the park."

She tried to sputter a response, but failed miserably, her face turning red once again. Spike chuckled at her discomfort, then threw his arm around her shoulder and escorted her from the park. "What now, pet?"

"I still have to make a run through my usual haunts," she said. "And I promised I'd meet up with Faith to compare damage statistics."

"Faith? That the other Slayer? The one that replaced the bird Dru offed?" Spike asked.

"It just so sends tinglies my way to hear you talk about Kendra that way," Buffy said, semi-angrily. "She was my friend, and I don't appreciate it that your ex-ho killed her!"

"A bit touchy, aren't we, luv?" he asked. "Slayers are born to die. I don't have any say in the matter."

She snorted derisively. "You don't have any say? What about the two you killed?"

"Yeah, well…if I hadn't a killed them, I wouldn't have met you, now would I?" Spike said defensively. He was slowly become angry with her.

"Oh, that's great logic," she said sarcastically. "That's like stealing cases of pop to get the coupon for a free one."

Spike stopped walking and looked at her. "What? Now you're not making any bloody sense."

"Oh, so now I'm dumb?" Buffy asked, hands on her hips.

"Stop putting words in my mouth!" Spike snapped at her.

"Then stop acting like a jerk!"

They fumed at each other, both their eyes flaring, until the vampire dropped his gaze and swore. "This is bloody ridiculous. I'm standing in the middle of the street, arguing with the Slayer about nothing, when I can think of about a million things I'd rather be doing to her."

"Uh, hello, I'm right here," Buffy said, annoyed.

"Er…right," Spike said, giving her a sheepish grin. "Sorry ‘bout that."

Buffy threw her hands in the air in exasperation. "What is it with me and vampires?"

"Must be our charm," he replied. "Or our sexy, never changing looks."

"Who said you were sexy?" she asked, innocently, their fight forgotten. "I'd kill them for lying to you."

Spike tried to give her an irritated look, but spoiled it with a smile. "Touché, Slayer."



Part Six




"So, are you going to follow me around all night like a lost puppy?" Buffy asked two hours later. She hadn't seen a single vamp, other than Spike, and she was extremely bored.

"That was the plan," he answered, a cheerful note in his voice and a small smile on his lips. "Why? Am I bothering you?"

"Not really, but it's hard to do my sacred duty if there are no vamps around to dust. And for some reason, I have a feeling you have something to do with that," she replied. "And don't give me that ‘I'm innocent' look. It ain't working."

"I don't know what you mean, ducks,' he said.

She scowled at him and was about to give a scathing retort when she saw Faith in the distance. "There's Faith. Fade into the shadows or something," she said.

"What, you're not going to introduce us?" Spike asked with fake dismay.

"No."

"You're not ashamed of your mate, are you?"

Buffy rolled her eyes, completely missing his reference to her status with him. "Just hide."

"Very well," he sighed dramatically. "But only because you asked nicely." He grinned cheekily at her, then disappeared.

"Save me from vampire drama queens," Buffy said to herself as Faith walked up. "Hey, Faith. How's the action?"

"Jumpin', B," Faith replied. "I must've dusted at least a dozen."

"Really? I haven't seen a single baddie," Buffy responded.

"Well, I'll be sure to send a few your way," Faith joked. "Who's the guy?"

"What guy?"

"The tall blondie who was here a second ago," she said.

"Him? Just some guy," Buffy replied. She could have sworn she heard Spike chuckle, so she decided to have some fun. "You should have seen his clothes. Can I say stuck in the ‘Me' decade? And his hair? Root city."

"I heard that, pet," Spike's voice floated to them from the darkness. "Why don't you tell her about your clothing…or lack thereof."

Faith jumped and Buffy cringed when they heard his British accent. "Was that him?" Faith asked. "What a sexy voice."

"Please, don't feed his ego," Buffy begged the girl. She raised her voice to Spike. "And I thought I told you to vamoose."

"Sorry, luv, but you know how well I follow directions," he replied, stepping from the shadows.

Faith's mouth dropped open as he joined them. "Damn girl, I didn't know he was so fine." Buffy snorted as Spike shot Faith a sexy grin. "Are you taken? Cuz if you're not, I'm free and easy."

Spike arched an eyebrow at her offer, but shook his head. "Sadly, I must decline. I've already claimed someone as mine." This time, Buffy groaned and hit her head with her hand. "What's wrong, poodle?"

"First, I'm not your dog. Second, you have to be the most egotistical man I've known since Angelus was free. Mine, indeed."

"I try."

"Angelus as in Angel?" Faith interjected. "But I thought he was still around."

"Angel is," Buffy replied. "But his evil alter-ego went by way of the do-do."

"And he's a wuss once more," Spike added. Buffy punched him on the arm. "It's true, not that I would want that wanker back again. The way he pawed all over Dru…"

"You know, I'd really rather not hear about that," Buffy interrupted him.

He flashed her a slightly apologetic grin. "Sorry about that, sweets. It's not necessarily something I want to relive either."

"I don't know which one of us had it worse. He may have killed Miss Calendar and terrorized me, but you had to live with him for months, stuck in that wheelchair."

"And who's fault was that?" Spike asked with a mocking smile.

"You should have seen that throw I made to knock that organ on you," Buffy said with a bragging grin. "Perfect form, just the right amount of strength with that censer and bam! Instant avalanche."

"Ever the resourceful Slayer," he said. "That's why you're so bloody hard to kill."

"Sleeping with the enemy is a plus, too," she said, giving him a lewd wink.

"Hold up, hold up. You two took the interchange without signaling, now I'm lost," Faith said. Buffy turned sharply to the other Slayer, having forgotten she was even there. "You two tried to kill each other. What's up with that?"

"Oh, um…well," Buffy stammered. She looked to Spike for help, but the vampire put his hands up in refusal. "It's like this…"

She didn't get to finish because Faith saw several vampires behind the duo, preparing to attack. "Sorry, B. Looks like company of the pointy kind," she said, dashing around them and throwing herself at the vamps.

"Saved by the dead," Buffy said, sighing with relief. She gave Spike a flirtatious smile. "I have work to do, bunny. Ta-ta!" With that, she ran over to fight at Faith's side. Spike turned to watch, arms crossed, and a pensive look on his face as he waited to see what would happen when the vampires saw Buffy.

Faith had dusted one vamp already and was efficiently pounding on two at the same time, alternating with kicks and punches. Two others were trying to get close enough to grab her arms, but when they saw Buffy run up, they froze, their hideous features reflecting fear.

"Now, hasn't anyone ever told you it's not nice to play with your food?" Buffy said, coming at the two. She spun and kicked the closer one, sending him back a few feet.

The second one widened his eyes in fear and held up his hands defensively. "Sorry, Slayer, we didn't know you was here." He turned and ran off, the second one close on his heels.

Confused, Buffy turned to help Faith. She tapped one of the vamps on the other girl, and he spun, backhanding her across the face with enough force to knock her to the ground. He leapt onto her back, grabbing a fistful of hair and pulling so her neck was exposed. He lowered his head to sink his fangs in her neck when he got a clear view as to who he captured. "Oh, shit. The Slayer," he said, dropping her head and scrambling away from her as fast as possible. He ran out into the street, watching behind him, and crashed right into Spike, falling back onto the ground.

The older vampire stood arms still crossed, staring at the younger one with a feral gleam in his blue eyes. "Master Spike! I'm sorry, I-I-I didn't know it was her!" Spike didn't respond to his fearful stammering, didn't change his posture or break eye contact. The younger vampire began to sweat, praying to a god he didn't believe in to save his undead life.

Faith had staked the remaining vampire and helped Buffy to her feet. They both turned to see what was happening between Spike and the younger vampire. With a shrug to Faith's questioning glance, Buffy silently moved closer behind the fallen vamp, stake in hand. "I-I-I won't hurt her! You made your claim," she heard him say. "None of the younger ones will, even if Trick orders it!"

"Is this a private tete-a-tete, or can anyone join in?" Buffy said, standing directly behind the vamp. His head whipped around, took one look at her, and panicked. Pushing himself to his feet, he ran as fast as he could, disappearing into the night. She watched after him, then turned her attention on her lover. "What was that about?"

"Hmm?" Spike asked, staring in the direction of the younger vamp. He shrugged, unfolding his arms. "Beats me, pet."

"Now, tell me - why don't I believe you?" she said, looking pointedly at him. He gave her a brilliant smile, then took out a cigarette and lit it. Buffy growled in frustration.

Spike chuckled and quickly changed the subject. "Weren't you going to visit your friends at the Bronze?"

Buffy glanced at her watch. "Yikes! I'm suppose to be there five minutes ago!" She turned to Faith. "Would you like to come, too?"

"I'm down with that," Faith replied. She gestured to Spike. "What about him?"

"Oh, he has better things to do, don't you?"

"Actually, I do, ducks," Spike said. He took a step forward and grabbed her bodily to him, planting a hard kiss on her unsuspecting lips. "Until later, my sweet." He shot a grin over Buffy's shoulder to Faith, then left, disappearing into the darkness like only vampires can.

"Woah, girl. That man is all that and a bag of chips," Faith said. They started to walk to the Bronze. "So, you gettin' any?"

"Faith!"

"I'll take that as a positive," Faith smiled. "I'm betting that he has one sexy ass under those clothes. He any good?"

Buffy covered her flaming cheeks with her hands. "Can we not discuss this?"

"What fun is that?"



Part Seven




Buffy felt a hand clamp on her shoulder and she spun, ready to attack. "Angel! Don't do that!"

"I need to talk to you," Angel said. He didn't wait for her to follow as he turned and left the Bronze.

"Ok…guys, I'll be back," Buffy told her friends.

"Sure thing, Ah-nuld," Xander cracked. "If you see Linda Hamilton, send her my way."

Buffy shook her head at his lame joke, grabbed her jacket and exited to club. She found Angel in an alley, pacing back and forth. "So, what's up?"

"Spike's here."

"Tell me something I don't know."

Angel stopped and narrowed his eyes at her. "And he's still alive?"

"The term is ‘undead' and yes he is," Buffy said, becoming irritated with Angel's tone of voice.

"Did you know he staked his claim on you?"

"He did what?"

"Claimed you. Announced to the community that you were his," he spat the word and began to pace once more.

"Ok, not seeing the big picture here," Buffy said, slightly confused.

Angel didn't respond. He was too busy carrying on a one sided conversation with himself. "I shouldn't have left. I knew I shouldn't have given up my claim. Damn you, Spike!"

Buffy stuck her hands in the pockets of her jacket and glared at her old love. She had no idea what he was talking about, only that it had to deal with Spike. She really didn't want to have a conversation that included the peroxide blond vampire with Angel. Seeing him also reopened old wounds that she wanted to heal. He finally stopped ranting and she pounced on the silence. "Angel, I'm going to give you three minutes to explain, then I'm going back inside."

"Spike claimed you," Angel explained in an angry tone. "That means he told the vampire community that you were his property and off-limits upon pain of death."

"So that's why those vamps went running," Buffy said, mostly to herself. Then the rest of his words penetrated. "Wait a minute. I'm property?"

Angel could see anger flare up in her eyes and went to explain, considering he had claimed her once. "It means something different to vampires, Buffy. When a vampire claims a human, it means he or she has chosen that human as a mate. Usually this leads to the human being turned."

Buffy stood stunned at the revelation. She found her voice to ask a painful question as his early tirade came to mind. "But, I heard you say you had claimed me, too. Did you want to make me a vampire?"

"No, Buffy," he answered with a quick shake of his head. "At least, not until I lost my soul. That's why there wasn't as many attacks on you afterwards. The younger ones were afraid and Spike was incapacitated."

"What does Spike being stuck in a wheelchair have to do with me?"

"As an older vampire, he could try to take you from me, to break the claim. Rolling around in a wheelchair made it impossible for him to physically do it."

"How would he have been able to break it?" Buffy asked, mortified yet wanting to know more.

"By turning you himself. Or killing you," Angel answered. "Or by having sex with you."

Buffy's eyes welled with tears and she furiously wiped at them. She did not want to think that Spike had only used her to one up Angel. And she also did not want to think about the pain in her heart, either. "I have to go," she told him. She turned and ran off into the night.


*****


Buffy avoided Spike over the next few days. She asked Faith to take patrolling, spent extra time with her mom or at Willow's house, convinced Giles she needed more training. She also made sure to lock her window and shut the drapes to prevent herself from letting him inside. Angel had gone back to LA without so much as a by your leave and the Slayer sunk into depression.

As the sun faded on Christmas Eve, Buffy left her house for the Bronze's Holiday Party. Wearing a form fitting, off the shoulder red dress with a flared skirt and dark heels, she mingled in the crowded teen hangout, looking for her friends.

She found Spike instead.

Her breath caught as she studied him, her eyes roving over his dark green mock turtleneck and black chinos before returning to his chiseled features. She swallowed as he approached.

"You've been avoiding me, luv," he said in a low tone, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "Why?" He already knew the answer. Word had gone around that Angel was seen with the Slayer and he put two and two together.

"Are you going to make me a vampire?"

Or so he thought. "What? Where did you get that bloody idea?"

"Angel told me about your ‘claim'," she said, venom in her voice. "Is that why you wanted me? To pull one over on him? It must be a big thing in the vampire community to break your sire's claim."

Spike looked at her with surprise and hurt. "The claim was broken when he left you, Slayer," he said softly. A slow song started and he took her arm and pulled her none to gently to the dance floor. Buffy had no choice but to put her arms around his neck and dance as he wrapped his arms tightly around her waist, holding her close. "Relax, luv. I don't want to change you," he whispered in her ear. "It's your passion and fire that I fell in love with, and that would be gone if you were made a vampire."

Buffy moved her head back to look into his eyes. "You love me?"

"Yes, pet, I do. That's why I claimed you as my mate," he said, kissing her softly. "That's the only reason."

Buffy could read the love and truth in his blue eyes. Her lips started to tremble, so she pressed herself close to him as they continued to sway to the music. When the song ended, she took Spike's hand and led him to a quiet corner of the Bronze. They sat facing each other, knees touching, as she put her thoughts together. "How can you love me? I'm your worst enemy," she finally said.

"I love you for the same reason everyone else does," he answered. "Your strength, heat, wit, skill, venerability, courage, beauty, the list goes on forever." He leaned back and took something out of his pocket. "This is for you."

He pressed the object into her hand. "It's an anklet. I figured a bracelet might break with all the fighting you do." The silver braided chain was interwoven with small diamonds and clear, deep green stones.

"It's beautiful," Buffy whispered.

"And I didn't even kill anyone to get it."

She smiled and laughed softly at his remark. "Put it on me?"

Spike lifted her trim ankle and attacked the clasp. He ran his fingers lightly on her calf, desire and love reflecting from his eyes. "Merry Christmas, Slayer."

"Hey guys, what's shakin'?" Faith's voice brought them back to reality. Spike blinked and dropped Buffy's leg.

"Faith, hey," Buffy said unenthusiastically. "What brings you here?"

"Uh, party, eggnog, mistletoe?" she said, pointing to the decoration above their heads. "Ring any bells?"

The couple looked up at the same time, then at each other. With a quirk of his mouth, Spike leaned forward and tenderly brushed his lips to hers. "I love you, Buffy, " he said in a voice so low only she could hear. Faith cleared her throat loudly. "I'll…uh, get us some drinks."

Spike rose and left the two girls alone. Faith took his seat, watching his retreating behind. "Damn girl, he's even hotter than I remembered."

"Yeah," Buffy sighed, then blushed. "So, um, how was the slaying?"

"Hi Buffy!" Willow greeted as she and Xander joined the two Slayers. "When did you get here?"

"Not long ago," she replied. Her best friends sat on the couch opposite her with Faith. She hoped Spike would stay away.

"Wow, Buff. Nice bit of jewelry you got there," Xander said, pointing to her crossed legs.

Willow looked where he pointed and gasped, leaning forward to examine the anklet more closely. "Buffy, where did you get this?" Willow asked.

"It was a gift," she replied. "Why? You like?"

"This is a handmade charm," Willow said excitedly. "Witches make them for special reasons. See, the types of stones that were used? Diamonds protect the wearer from bad dreams, demons and nightmares and symbolize bravery and strength. This green one is diopside, and represents the bearer's love, commitment and trust for you. The interwoven silver is a protectant, binding the stones together."

"Boy, Will, you sure know your witchy stuffy," Buffy said, looking down at the gift. Her heart was pounding in her chest.

"So, where did you get it? From your man?" Willow asked. "The same guy who…you know."

"Man? What man?" Xander said, looking around. "When did you get a man? And why isn't it me?"

"Sorry, Xand," Buffy said. "And yes, Willow, it was from him. After all that's happened to me, I didn't think…" She looked up at her friends and saw Spike standing behind them, watching her expectantly. She took a deep breath when she met his eyes, her body felt as if it were on fire. "I'm falling in love with him. From his dark roots to his contradictory nature."

"So, when can we meet this knight in shining armor who managed to rescue your heart?" Xander asked.

"His armor is a bit tarnished," she replied. Spike smirked. "But maybe you'll meet him, only if you promise not to wig."

"Wig" Willow said, eyes widening. "He's wigable? Oh boy, this can't be a good thing. It's not…Angel, is it?"

"No, it's not Angel," Buffy reassured them. "He's much…blonder." She could see Spike chuckle behind them.

"But he is living, right?" Xander added.

"Define living?" Buffy replied. As her two friends mouths dropped open, a slow song started. Spike looked at her questioningly, tilting his head to the dance floor. She nodded and stood. "Sorry guys, but duty calls."

Taking Spike's hand, the two lovers lost themselves in the sea of dancers. "That was cruel of you, kitten," he said, holding her close. "I liked it."

"You would," she said with a smile. "What say we get out of here?"

"I thought you'd never ask."



Epilogue




Spike caught Buffy's waist and pulled her back against them as soon as they entered his home. Her heart was beating against the palm of his hand, pulsing with joy and life. Her body was supple and relaxed against him, her hands atop his arm, her hair tickling his chin. Her warmth flowed over him from chest to thigh, seeping into his cold skin. She smelled of youth and laughter and vanilla. He wanted to draw her in like fresh air, drink her down like rich blood.

He dipped his head and planted a gentle lingering kiss on the back of her neck. Her breath caught and she sank back against him, melting in his caress. She lifted her hand to stroke his face. Without seeming to move at all, as naturally as waking in the evening and sleeping during the day, his hand slid upward and over her breast, filling his palm with softness and warmth and utter femininity.

He felt her breath, low and deep and long, rush through her lungs. He tasted the skin of her neck on his tongue. Her fingers pressed into his scalp, holding him, urging him. He took the lobe of her ear between his teeth, moving his other hand to the gently convexity of her belly, pressing and massaging the flesh though the material of her dress. Her low moan of pleasure went through him like a small earthquake, reverberating through his body, turning his stolen blood to lava. He pulled her more tightly against him, pressing his teeth against the ligament between her neck and shoulder.

She whispered his name, He felt her trembling, and his own. He heard her blood rushing through her veins, pulsing, fast and loud, her breath like the sigh of the wind. Desire unfurled within him, hardening his loins, strengthening his muscles, filling him with power and need. He wanted her. That was all he knew. It was plain and primitive and simple and right, this wanting , this singular and all-encompassing need. And he could feel her need in return, smell the musk of her, hear it in the rush of her pulse, taste it in the salt of her skin. He was inflamed.

Deep within Buffy there was a thread of wonder at the power this man had over her, his almost supernatural ability to enthrall. It was a sensation she acknowledged and knew she should fight - the loss of control, the surrender to desire- but instead, she welcomed it. There was a wildness in him that touched something savage in her, a mastery and a ferocity that excited the most primitive responses in her. Through the swirling haze of her desire, she could almost feel him changing as she changed, becoming one with the passion they created between them. His arms beneath her clutching fingers seemed tighter, stronger, leaner. She felt the bite of nails on her skin, sharp teeth, stronger muscles…It was freighting and thrilling and she couldn't have stopped it if she had wanted to.

What had started as a low and lovely blossom of desire unfurling inside his belly began to stretch and grow, to darken and expand, greedily lapping up reason and restraint. Spike grappled for control, but there was fire in his brain, a tightness of his skin. The softness of her flesh beneath his hands, the scent of her, the heat radiating from her skin. He was on fire. He ached in every joint and muscle, his arousal throbbing against her backside. In a swift move, he swept her into his arms and carried her to the bed.

They sank to the pillows together, wrapped around each other. He captured her mouth with his own, delving deep inside, coaxing, demanding. She stroked his hair with a trembling hand, then moved down to grasp at his shirt. It came off swiftly, their lips barely breaking contact. Her fingers traced idle patterns on his cold back, urging him on. He shifted his weight in order to pull her up so he could unzip the dress. It fell to a pool around her waist, baring her uncovered breasts to him.

He started to kiss down her neck, then drew her nipples into his mouth, suckling them. She moaned out loud as he moved from one to the other, her hands scratching at his back, then again when he broke away to remove the remainder of their clothing. Her breath was quick and hot, her heartbeat thunderous. She wrapped her arms and legs around him, writhing with need, arching her hips. He took her head between his hands, which wound tightly in her hair and she saw the savagery of hunger in his eyes, the intensity of need, the depth of his desire.

She felt the stabbing thrust of his penetration and she cried out, arching against him as he filled her. She was dizzy with the force of the sensation, light-headed, weightless, aware of nothing except Spike and the intense, mind-numbing pleasure he created inside her body, the incredible thing that was happening inside her soul.

They moved together in rhythms that were desperately hypnotic, irresistible and instinctive, and as pleasure spiraled, so did the flow of consciousness between them. She was him. He was her. The orgasm that gripped her was at first only a reflection of the rapture that had sized her mind and then the two blended, an explosion of wonder and breathless, bursting pleasure. She cried out as Spike thrust deep inside her, spilling himself; she held tightly and she wouldn't let him go.

Spike lifted himself, and held her face in his hands. With his eyes he promised her himself, staked his claim on her, told her she was his mate and no others. His hands moved beneath her back and they turned in bed until she was astride him. She tasted the coolness of his skin, buried her face in his chest, raked her nails along his thighs. She felt him grow strong and hard inside her. He closed his hand on the back of her neck, drawing her down to him. He bit down on her shoulder as they thrust together, savagely, fiercely, turning again and again, discovering and rediscovering the ecstasy.

When at least they collapsed, tangled together in exhaustion, they lay for a long time bathed in the glow of love. There were marks on Buffy's shoulder and neck and breasts from his mouth. His back bore the red lines of her nails. She ached all over. She could still feel the electric residue of him on her skin, inside her. If her life ended tonight, it would be enough. For this moment, it would be enough.

Spike pulled her close against him, memorizing the feelings she invoked on him, inside him. If he were to walk into the sun in the morning, it would be with the knowledge that he had known the fire and passion, the unbelievable physical and emotional strength, the love and devotion of one young woman who held the fate of the world on her shoulders.

"Merry Christmas, Spike," Buffy said softly, hearing the church bells ring twelve.

"Merry Christmas to you, too, Buffy." He kissed the top of her head and smiled. "Merry Christmas to you."


End

1