Spike lifted his own mask off, setting it on the table without removing his eyes from Buffy's as she took hers off. He lifted one hand, pressing it to the back of her head, and brought her lips to his. He kissed her lovingly, tenderly, not wanting it to end.
Buffy broke the kiss first, sighing happily. She lay her forehead against his, looking into his blue eyes. "Happy New Year, Spike."
"Happy New Year to you, too, Slayer," he said, smiling at her. "Are you ready?" She nodded. He winked at her, his eyes dancing with merriment and he turned his head to face her friends. "Uh…boo?"
Willow blanched, Faith laughed and Xander screamed like a woman. It was going to be an interesting new year.
Spike didn't think he could laugh any harder at the reactions of Buffy's friends to him. Tears streamed down his face as he held onto the Slayer in his lap, his head buried in the crook of her neck.
"Say something, guys," Buffy said to Willow and Xander, who were both looking at the couple as if they'd sprouted wings. Faith had stopped laughing long enough to poke Spike in the side, then wink at him as he looked in her direction, sending them into gales of laughter once more.
Willow opened her mouth, but all that came out was a squeak. Xander was no better. His face resembled that of a Picassamus, a little sucker fish that feeds off the bottom of the tanks, as he opened and closed his mouth in an attempt to say something. When it finally looked as if he would say something, he was interrupted by an annoying beeping sound.
Buffy looked down at her purse from whence the sound was coming from, opening it quickly. Her pink pager was going off. Half a beat later, she heard an echoing beep coming from Faith. Her eyes widened as she turned her head to the other Slayer. "The apocalypse?"
"After midnight on New Year's?" Faith said. "It better be."
Buffy slid reluctantly off of Spike's lap, extracting herself from his grasp as he looked up, concerned. "Gotta fly. Duty calls."
"But I was good and stayed for two hours!" Spike said, pouting. She giggled, then leaned over and kissed his nose.
"If this doesn't take to long, I'll come over after," she told him, linking arms with Faith. She looked over to Willow and Xander. "Are you two coming?"
"But Spike?!" Willow exclaimed as the foursome walked towards the school as the pager had indicated by its number code. One, two, three meant library; four, five, six meant Giles' house; seven, eight, nine meant Buffy's house; and if nine, one, one were tacked on the end, it meant get your ass over there in a hurry because big trouble was brewing on the Hellmouth.
"Yes, Spike," Buffy said with the same emphasis on his name.
"Wow. Just…wow," the red head replied. "He built that snowman?"
"Yup," Buffy grinned at the memory of watching him make it.
"Are none of you concerned about the fact that we're having a conversation with Spike, Buffy and sex in it?" Xander interrupted. "Now, Buffy and sex I can deal with. Picture even. But the three together? Euygh." He shivered with revulsion. "Wasn't one dead guy enough?"
"Xander," Buffy warned. "That's my boyfriend you're talking about."
"You're at the boyfriend stage?" Willow asked, getting excited for her, even though she thought her best friend was crazy.
"I've been claimed," she answered proudly.
"Hey, B," Faith said. "How bad do you think Tweedle-G is gonna wig?"
"Majorly. Which is why we are keeping this to ourselves for now," Buffy replied, looking directly at Xander.
"Not good," Willow said. "Secrets are bad. Remember when Angel came back? And Xander kissage? Bad, bad secrets. Gives you sweaty palms."
"I have to agree with her, B," Faith interrupted. "Secrets have a way of always shitting on your happy parade."
"Can we at least wait until after the big crisis that's got us going to the library on New Year's?" Buffy begged.
Spike followed behind the foursome, keeping to the shadows as only a vampire knows how, listening to their conversation. Well, he was trying to listen to them, but he was distracted by the way Buffy's hips moved as she walked in the tight, black catsuit she was wearing. It was almost getting too painful to keep up, his erection straining against his zipper. He'd put up with over two hours of her dancing seductively around him, rubbing against his body as much as possible at the Bronze's New Year's Eve party, and all he had wanted to do was get her back to his lair and slam into her repeatedly until she blacked out from the pleasure. Instead, here he was, creeping along behind the two Slayers and friends as they went to the high school to prevent whatever new crisis beheld the residents of Sunnydale. Unlife sucked.
With his keen vision, he saw several vampires silently stalking beside the group, but the moment they caught sight of Buffy, they turned and ran in the other direction like sissies. He chuckled when the latest one to run tripped and staked himself on a rod that held a flower aloft. There'd yet to be any real challenge to his claim on her, or to the fact that he was back in Sunnydale after those first eight before Christmas. He wondered if Trick was planning something, or simply didn't care anymore since Spike was not vying for power over the Hellmouth territory.
When he brought his thoughts back to his surroundings and away from the Slayer's rear, he realized they'd reached the high school. Quietly, he crept to the back of the school, slipping down a manhole to enter the library through the back way. Silently, he made his way into the stacks to position himself where he could see and hear everything. And keep an eye on his mate. A very horny eye.
"Giles? We're here!" Buffy called out as the four friends entered the library. The ever present tweed clad Watcher came out of his office. "What's the big ta-do that pulled us here twenty minutes after New Year's?"
Giles stared at the blond Slayer for a moment, taking in her skin tight body suit with wide, silver chain belt, anklet twinkling merrily under the florescent library lights. He shook his head, removing his glasses in nervousness at the beauty of his ward. "I…er, there is-is someone I need you to…to meet." He turned back to the office door. "James, if you please."
Seeing Buffy sitting on Spike's lap at the Bronze was nothing compared to the ghost who entered the room. Dressed in clothing out of the 1920s, the semi-transparent man was a few inches over six feet tall, well built, with dark eyes and dark hair that flopped over his left eye, giving him a boyish look. When he grinned at their obviously startled reaction, perfect white teeth slashed across pale, well-defined lips, his eyes crinkling in laughter.
"J-James, I'd like you to meet Buffy, Faith, Xander and Willow," Giles introduced to the ghost. "Children, meet James Clark."
"Of the O'Banion gang?" Willow asked, her eyes wide.
James blinked in surprise. "One in the same," he replied.
She made a sound that could only be described as geeker joy and began speaking rapidly. "What really happened that night? I mean, how could seven of you all be shot in the back by a Capone's men? Or didn't you know they were playing for the other team? And did it hurt? Getting shot I mean. Oz was shot once, but in the arm, and he said it was pretty painful, but it must have been much worse for you. You died. Oh! You're dead! You're…you're a ghost! We haven't had any ghosts yet, have we, Giles?"
The four humans, one ghost and one vampire hidden in the stacks all stared at the red head.
"That was a bit…much, wasn't it?" Willow said, blushing a nice hue of pink.
"I take it you, uh, know James' his-history?" Giles asked her. She nodded enthusiastically, eyeing the ghost like he was a new paranormal Internet address.
"For the rest of us who are standing in this room going 'huh,' care to clue us in?" Buffy said, hopping up on the check out counter. Faith joined her while Xander and Willow moved to the large oak table that had assisted them in many a nights research. Nothing better than a good hunk of wood to aid the Slayer.
"Buffy, James Clark was a member of the O'Banion gang which later became 'Bugs' Moran's gang, back in the 1920s during the time of Prohibition," Willow replied, cutting the ghost off when he opened his mouth to explain. He shot Giles an amused glance, who returned it in full. "Al Capone was 'Bugs' Moran's rival, and on February 14, 1929, seven men were assassinated in a garage at 2122 North Clark Street in Chicago - James Clark, Adam Meyer, John May, Al Weinshank, Frank Gusenburg and his brother Pete and Dr. Reinhardt Schwimmer, who was an optometrist…I wonder why he was there?"
"Uh, Wills?" Xander said. "As much as you like sounding like the G-man, I think the rest of us are still at the starting line."
"Oh, sorry," the hacker said. "Mr. Clark was one of the casualties of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre." Lights went on behind the teens eyes as they infamous murder was forced from the depths of their minds to the foreground after being repressed as most history lessons are.
"Um, wow," Buffy said, staring over at the ghost. "You're not here to get revenge, are you? 'Cuz if you are, you're a few thousand miles off course. Chicago's way east of here."
"No, I'm not here to get revenge," James replied with a small smile. "I'm here to put a nix on a reenactment."
"Ok, now I'm totally lost," she said, cocking her head when she heard what sounded like a muffled laugh coming from the stacks. She frowned for a moment, the shook her head as James began to speak again.
"Here's the skinny," he said, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the counter. Willow made a funny noise when she thought he was going to fall through it, remembering her time as a ghost two Halloweens ago. "In 1929, I was bopped in a daisy way - being drilled in the back of the noodle. Since then, for some reason, I'm around from January first until February 15th in Chicago to stop the same thing from happening again, only involving innocent bystanders rather than members of the mob. So far, it hasn't. I've usually been able to scare the chopper squad into stopping with the help of Cracker and Johnny."
"Then what's different about this year? And why are you in Sunnydale instead of Chicago?" Willow asked.
"Vampires," he responded. "They're planning the hit this time around, and as you know, they ain't got a lot upstairs and you can't twist the screws with them. As for why here…"
"Because of the Hellmouth," Buffy finished for him. She shook her head and sighed. "I told my mom moving to Sunnydale wasn't a good idea. But would she listen, nooo."
"So we go out and slay. What's the big whoop?" Faith said, speaking up for the first time.
"The big, er, whoop as you put it that we don't know who they are, let alone who the, uh, in-intended victims are," Giles replied.
"I vote Trick," Buffy said. "He's the head poobah right now."
"If he's the high pillow, then he'll stay hidden," James pointed out. "It's the knock off I have to kibosh, not the money grubbers behind the scenes."
"Then we beat some ass," Faith said. "Get a little info before we slay. Or maybe you can ask your stud, B, see if he can open some windows."
"Faith," Buffy hissed as Giles shot her a puzzled look.
"Stud?" he asked.
"Buffy went and hooked up with Spi-." A hand clamped over Xander's mouth before he could finish. He turned his head to Willow's furious gaze and shake of her head.
"I'll tell you later, Giles," Buffy said quickly, hopping off the counter. "But right now, since there isn't anything we can do, I'm gone."
"But, Buffy, we should…"
"No, Giles, we shouldn't. It's still technically New Year's Eve, and I for one want to finish celebrating," she said.
"B got all dressed up with someone to blow," Faith added. Buffy's combination of murderous glare and blush sent the other Slayer into stitches and she heard an answering low chuckle sound from the stacks. "Speakin' of jobs, sounds like a certain sucker is listening in," she said between laughs, gesturing to the second floor of the library with her head.
Buffy's eyes widened when she caught on with what Faith had just said, then she turned on her heel and sprinted up into the stacks. Willow, Xander, Giles and James all watched after the blond as she disappeared from sight. They heard a loud yelp, followed by a semi-loud tirade from the Slayer.
"Ut-oh," Willow said. "I think somebody's getting their ear chewed off."
"If he doesn't bite her first," Xander said angrily. "I had to say this, but I miss Deadboy. At least I knew with him around there wasn't going to be any more play."
Giles was about to ask what Xander meant when an irate Slayer stomped out of the stacks, pulling Spike by a death grip on his ear. "Giles, I'm leaving. See you tomorrow," Buffy ground out as she yanked the peroxide blond vampire behind her out the swinging doors.
Giles removed his glasses, rubbed his eyes, then replaced them, all the while watching the door. "Did um…did I just see Spike?"
Willow was the first to giggle, followed shortly by Faith, then Xander. James shrugged at the Watcher, his own eyes sparkling with the knowledge of what Buffy was going to do to Spike. With a loud sigh, Giles went into his office to start a pot of tea. He had a feeling his Slayer had gone and gotten herself involved with another vampire. In more ways than one.
Buffy opened the first door she came to, breaking the lock with her furious twist. Angrily, she practically threw Spike inside, slamming the door behind her. "I cannot believe you followed me! Spying on me!"
"It could have been something for Slayer ears only, not their vampire lovers! And didn't I say I'd see you later? Huh? Did you not believe me? You are just so…argh!"
If Spike wasn't aroused before, he definitely was now. This was what he loved most about the Slayer, her fire, her passion, the way her eyes flashed in anger. Shifting, he tried to non-chalantly adjust himself, his erection painfully evident under his dark gray khakis.
The angry burning of her stare turned into molten desire as her eyes flicked down, then back to his face. With a low growl equal to any he could make, she launched herself at him, crushing her lips to his, plunging her tongue past his teeth, forcefully dueling with is own. Her hands sank into his short locks, her nails digging into his scalp as she pressed against him, rubbing her pelvis into his.
Spike looked around wildly, his eyes searching for a place to ravish her. Spotting another door, he lifted her against him, moving quickly to it. With a well placed kick, it shot open to reveal an office. He carried her over to the large desk, his lips never leaving hers, and shoved the objects on the top to the floor with one sweep of his arm before laying her across the glossed surface.
Buffy pushed at his coat, shoving it roughly off his shoulders, then moved to the buttons of his gray oxford. She fumbled with the buttons for a second, then savagely ripped the material apart, sending the fastenings flying all over the office. Her nails scratched into his lean, muscular chest, leaving thin lines of blood.
He growled this time, low and dangerous, as his hands sought the hidden zipper in the back of her body suit. Soon, she was bare from the waist up and he ran his fangs over her skin, slicing it lightly as he traveled down the center of her body. He bit into the swell of her abdomen right below her navel, his mouth filling with her sweet, coppery blood.
He quickly stripped the remainder of the cat suit off, along with her shoes. Naked, his goddess lay before him, and he forcibly replaced the human mask, his blue eyes burning with an intensity hot enough to melt glass. His hands ran punishingly along her bare skin, pinching and caressing as he fused his mouth to hers once more. He dipped his fingers between her silken folds, finding her hot and wet and ready for him. With another growl, he unfastened his belt and pants, allowing them to drop around his knees as he pressed his throbbing member between her legs, seeking her fire.
Buffy grabbed his backside and arched her hips, causing him to thrust into her to the hilt. She set the pace, her pelvis smashing against his as he slammed into her faster, harder, with all his strength. He moved from her mouth down the side of her neck, his face morphing again as she started to keen in his ear. Suddenly, she bit down hard on his shoulder near his neck, her blunt teeth bruising him, cutting into the soft tissue as she orgasm. Spike screamed out in the combination of pleasure and pain, then sunk his fangs into her jugular, climaxing intensely as he rammed into her several more times, spilling his seed deep within her.
When the world finally stopped spinning, Spike carefully removed his fangs from her neck, licking the twin puncture wounds as her breathing and heartbeat slowed. He pushed up on his hands and looked down into her brilliant eyes which watched him with undisguised bliss. Ever so gently, she brought her hands up to caress the ridges still prevalent on his face, then pulled his head down for a soft kiss before he could slip into his human features.
Stunned, he could only stare at her when she released him, her lips curled up in a satisfied, feminine smile. She unhooked her ankles behind his back, then pushed on his chest, indicating she wanted to get up. He shook his head to clear the clouds, then stepped away, pulling his pants back up and fastening them. When he went to re-button his shirt, he paused, frowning down at the material. Buffy began to giggle at his expression.
"What?" Spike said, confused and irritated at his lack of ability to get his mind in gear.
"This time, you're the one without the buttons," she replied as she stood and retrieved her discarded body suit. When he didn't answer, she waved a hand in front of his face. "Hello? Anybody home? Or did I blow your mind away?"
Spike blinked and looked up at her, then gave her a slow, sexy smile. "You most definitely blew my mind away," he answered, pulling her now clothed body back against his. "I can't bloody wait for you to do it again."
"Can you wait long enough to get back to your place rather than us doing it again in Principal Snyder's office?" Buffy asked offhandedly. He watched as her eyes grew round and a horrified expression crossed her face. "Snyder's office! We just had sex in Snyder's office! On his desk! I am so going to be expelled. Again!"
"Slayer, calm down," he chuckle as she pushed out of his arms and began to collect the things on the floor. He let his eyes rove appreciatively over her backside. "It's not like the bloke is going to know it happened."
"You don't know the little prick, Spike," Buffy said, putting stuff back on the desk. "He's evil! Worse than you! He'd blame me even if I didn't do it! Mom is going to kill me if I get kicked out of school for the third time!"
Spike stopped her with his arms, wrapping them around her waist from behind. "I'll clean it up, kitten. Why don't you go talk to your Watcher. I'm sure dragging me across the library by my ear gave him an eppy."
She squeezed her eyes shut and leaned back against him, a headache developing right between her eyes. "Ok. Meet me in there when you're done," she replied, reluctantly leaving his arms for the broken door. As she looked at it, she rubbed her forehead, the headache increasing. *I am so the dead girl.*
She trudged through the swinging doors to her second home, barely noticing Willow was still there, talking amicably with James. They both looked up and noticed the bite mark on her neck and faint sheen to her skin, their mouths curving into smiles as the Slayer went into Giles' office. "Looks like the doll saw a little action," James commented.
Willow blushed slightly, but nodded. "The bite mark was a giveaway. Unless she was attacked. But then she would be dead, not here…"
"YOU DID WHAT?"
The two looked to Giles' office at his angry yell, the hacker cringing. "Oh, boy," she whispered. "Buffy's toast." James chuckled, then moved to listen in on the obvious dressing down the Slayer was getting by her Watcher.
"…Don't look at me like that, Giles," Buffy was saying as the ghost got into earshot. "I chose to be with Spike and with him I'm going to stay."
"Buffy, I cannot condone this-this-this insane behavior," Giles said. "Spike is-is not like Angel. He does not possess a soul. He's pure demon, with-with no feelings, no conscience…"
"He does to have feelings," she interrupted. "Why do you think he made the deal with me to stop Angel from opening Acathala to begin with? Because he loved Drusilla."
"An obsession, maybe," Giles responded. "But I highly doubt it was love. Vampires are incapable of such emotion."
"Then why did he claim me, huh?" Buffy snapped. "Angel said it was a huge thing with them. Even he had a claim on me before leaving for LA."
Giles whipped off his glasses at her statement. "Are you certain h-he claimed you?"
"Yes! If you don't believe me, ask him yourself," Buffy said, rubbing her temples now that the headache moved. "And he does not want to make me into a vampire, so if you raise a weapon to him I will get really mad."
But Giles was already moving to one of his books, rapidly turning the pages, looking for the section dealing with vampire claims. He scanned the text, then slumped back in his chair in part relief, part worry. If what he read was true, Spike's actions actually protected the Slayer from other vampires, and he himself would die to save her life. On the other hand, almost all claimed humans were turned or killed if the vampire lost interest. And with the bite mark prevalent on Buffy's neck, he was worried it would be the former, creating a powerful ally for the forces of darkness.
As if he'd conjured him up, Spike appeared in the office doorway, absently rubbing his neck, his shirt held together by one button. Giles could see a blunt bite mark on the vampire's neck where he rubbed and closed his eyes with a painful sigh. "I understand that you have claimed Buffy," he said, opening his eyes to peer at the peroxide blond.
"That I have, Watcher," Spike affirmed, looking over at the woman in question. "She is my mate and I intend to keep it that way." Buffy blushed at his possessive tone, ducking her head.
"Do you plan to turn her?" Giles asked.
The answer was simple, succinct, direct. Spike's blue eyes met Giles' with steely countenance, the tweed clad librarian seeing the truth reflecting from them. Giles nodded and watched as the vampire's gaze slid to Buffy, those same eyes changing to burn with love and desire for her. If he didn't believe vampires had emotions before, he had no doubts now.
"Giles? What's the deal with the ghost?" Buffy asked, breaking into the heavy silence of the office.
"Ghost?" Giles said. "Oh, oh yes. James. We are, er, planning to reconvene here tomorrow night to-to research."
"Got it," she said, raising her head to look at her friend, her mentor, her Watcher. "I'm gonna depart, then, ok?"
"Very well," he replied. As she turned to leave, he stopped her. "Buffy?"
"Yeah, Giles?" Buffy said, turning to face him.
"Thank you," Giles said. "For telling me about you a-and Spike."
"No more secrets, remember?" Buffy responded, giving him a small smile.
"What a strange girl," he sighed as she left with Spike's arm around her waist. Shaking his head, he took out his Watcher's Diary to record the latest turn in events in his Slayer's life. The future Watchers and their wards were going to have a field day with his diaries, and Giles knew he'd either be a laughingstock or the most revered Watcher in history. He was hedging his bets to the former.
"Grrr," Buffy said, slamming closed another book. "I don't why we're looking through dull old books for information on James. I mean, he's right here. Can't we just ask him?"
"We need to find out, er, why vampires, Buffy," Giles replied, not looking up from his book. "And possibly why James continues to return every year."
"Maybe the bad guys were humans who got turned into vampires just before the end of the year," Willow suggested, clicking at an icon on the computer.
"You know, for a sister, you're sure a wise head," James complimented to the hacker. Willow gave him a small smile, having brushed up on her Sam Spade during the day. "Where's the right gee who's dizzy with a dame like you?
"Um…he kinda hates me right now," Willow said sadly as she thought of Oz.
"Want I should pop him for you?" James asked.
"No! I mean…that's ok. It's my fault," Willow responded.
"Well, don't hesitate to use the blower if you change your mind," he grinned at her. "I'm in the book under 'Ghosts - Mob'." Willow laughed.
"But we still have a whole month and a half," Buffy whined to Giles over their conversation. "Plenty of time to find the bad guys and stop their party."
"Buffy, if you wish to be somewhere else, I shall not stop you," Giles said shortly. "However, I think we will need all the time available to us."
"Ok, ok," she grumbled, opening yet another book. "I'm gonna need a shovel to dig myself out from under this guilt."
Giles reached a hand up under his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. If he didn't love Buffy like a daughter, he'd have long ago fed her to the vampires as an appetizer. Or maybe Machida. But he would probably have gotten gas. *Rupert, behave,* he told himself at the terrible, yet funny, thought. He shook his head and returned to his beloved research.
"Hey B, Giles, Red, see-through dude," Faith said, entering the library with Xander. "How goes the book learning?"
"Don't ask," Buffy replied sullenly.
"How was patrol?" Giles asked.
"The Xand-man scored himself one," Faith responded, clapping the teen on the shoulder. "And that was only after, what, like three sissy screams?"
"It was only two, thank you very much," Xander replied haughtily. He ruined the snobbish effect by shooting the other occupants in the room his boyish grin. "But hey, end result was the same - dust central."
"No luck on the info line, though," Faith told Giles. "None of the vamps I slayed knew anything about the upcoming slaughterfest."
"Perhaps Buffy is right in saying we need to wait until closer to the actual date," Giles sighed.
"Yay! Does that mean we can stop?" Buffy asked, closing the book and batting her eyes at her Watcher.
"I think someone just wants to see her undead hump bunny," Xander said snidely.
"Watch it, Xander," Buffy warned, sliding to her feet with the grace of a panther. "Or I'll allow him to use you as an after dinner mint."
"How do I know that's not his dastardly plan to begin with?"
"You don't," she replied, giving him an evil grin. Xander swallowed visibly and Willow hid her giggle. The red head had a long girl talk with Buffy and Faith about Spike and knew he wouldn't hurt them, for fear of hurting the blond Slayer who he loved more than blood. It would have been very romantic statement if it wasn't so gross.
"Have fun, Buffy," Willow said. "Don't do anything I wouldn't want to do."
"Guess that leaves me wide open," Buffy teased. Willow turned bright red. "Later, guys."
"So, what do you think?"
"About what, luv?" Spike asked, stretching his long, jean clad legs out beside her. They were sitting on his bed several days later, doing nothing more than enjoying each other's company. For now, at least.
"About Casper the Friendly Ghost," Buffy replied, propping her chin in her hand and looking up at him. "Think we should be wigged?"
"Couldn't tell you, pet," he said. "If you want, I'll bloody up a few of the younger ones, try to get a line for you."
"You'd do that?" Buffy said, clearly amazed.
"Of course," he replied, giving her a wicked grin. "The sooner you stop this thing, the sooner I have you all to myself."
"Is it my fault you're so tasty?" Spike said, moving so he was laying face to face with her. "So sexy." He kissed her forehead. "So succulent." He kissed her nose. "So passionate." Her left cheek. "So fiery." Her right cheek. "So bloody irresistible." Her lips.
Buffy sighed when his lips met hers, her body trembling slightly from his words. Who would have thought her toughest foe was the most tender lover, gentle when gentleness was needed, strong when it was not. Who would have thought the one who hated her with his all he was could now love her with that same intensity, that same passion which sought death now wanted life.
"I love you, Buffy," Spike whispered against her mouth as he rolled their bodies so he was on top of hers, one arm supporting his weight. His free hand ran lightly down her side, then up under her pink shirt, caressing her warm skin. He rarely called her Buffy, always using 'Slayer' or 'Pet' or 'luv' instead. That's what made his declaration doubly important and special, he was showing her the depths of his feelings with one simple word. Her name.
He broke the kiss and took his time removing her clothing, then his own before returning to her side. He recaptured her lips, a tide of longing rising within him at her uninhibited response. Their lips touched, parted, then touched again as they explored the wonder of each other. His tongue dipped into the sweetness of her mouth and she moaned, drawing his tongue into a swirling dance with her own, sending waves of desire coursing though his body.
But before he would allow himself to find sweet relief, he sought to pleasure the beautiful woman at his side. With long, wet kisses and slow caresses of his mouth and tongue, he brought her to a glorious peak. When he finally sheathed himself inside her, filling her completely, it was almost too much. He plunged urgently within her, grasping her hands as if it were a lifeline. She met him thrust for thrust and the powerful exhilaration mounted, rolling over him in waves until the universe exploded around him in a million shards of glittering stardust. His cries joined hers as she, too, climaxed once more and pulsed around him, then relaxed to lie spent and unmoving under him.
A small, content smile hovered on his lips as he moved to her side, pulling her into the crook of his shoulder.
Unlife couldn't get any better.
Spike practically bounced through the streets of Sunnydale, having just pounded on his tenth 'source' that week seeking information for Buffy. His love. His Slayer. His mate. With a large grin, he danced up the steps of the public library like Fred Astaire. When he reached the top, he had the greatest urge to throw his arms in the air like Rocky Balboa in the original movie. He never knew loving someone could be so…neat.
Drusilla, in all her mad glory, had never made him feel this way in the hundred years they were together as a couple. He had loved her, but it wasn't this all consuming, intense, giddy, comfortable, light hearted brightness in his dark life. Buffy was his sun, his warmth, his fire, his goodness and he would do almost anything to bring a smile to her lips, to have her gaze lovingly in his eyes, to have her accept him in her arms, in her bed.
He loved her when she was angry, when she was sad, when she was content and when she was being silly. He loved to listen to the sound of her voice, the way it changed from happy to sarcastic to irritated to seductive. He would sit and watch her breathe for hours if he had the chance. Sappy, but true.
Leaping onto the handrail, Spike did his imitation of a tightrope walker, black duster blowing wildly as the wind picked up, trying to knock the cheery vampire down, offended that such a soulless creature would dare to be happy. But the wind was out of luck as he moved lightly on his feet down the metal, then jumping to the ground before continuing on his way. Unlife was good.
"Life sucks," Buffy said, lobbing a wadded up piece of paper at the garbage can strategically placed in the center of the room. She couldn't figure out how her aim with a crossbow was always dead on when she couldn't even sink a basket.
"Why?" Willow asked, looking up from the textbook she was reading. School had started up again and the teachers were piling on the homework. Not that the red head minded. In fact, she liked having homework.
"Where do I start?" Buffy replied dryly. "Snyder gave me detention for absolutely no reason, mom is in one of her protective modes, I have more homework than I want and there's a test tomorrow that I am so gonna fail. Oh, and there's still a ghost hanging around the library, driving me nuts with his 'dolls' and 'sisters' and the other strange words that come from his mouth."
"I think the way he talks is neat," the hacker said. "Kinda like a different language."
"Will, you think Latin is cool," Buffy said. Willow shrugged, smile on her lips. "Anyway, life still sucks."
"What about Spike? He's a highlight," she pointed out.
"He sucks, too," Buffy replied, wiggling her eyebrows.
"Hello, my two most favoritist girls," Xander said, coming into Buffy's bedroom and dropping his backpack on the floor. "Have you staked Deadboy Junior, yet?"
"No, but he sure has staked me," Buffy said, tongue in cheek.
Xander groaned. "I so did not need to hear that," he said, jumping onto the bed between his best friends. "What are we doing?"
"Homework," Willow answered. "At least, I am. Buffy's trying to become the next Michael Jordan. And not succeeding."
"Willow! When did you get such an acid tongue?" Buffy asked, grinning at her friend over Xander's dark head.
"Would you believe me if I said Giles?" Willow replied, sending the threesome into gales of laughter.
"Speaking of our beloved tweed man," Xander said when they had calmed down. "He wanted to know if your bloodsucker found anything out or not."
"Not yet," Buffy said, wadding up another piece of notebook paper. She took aim and shot, missing the lip by a foot. "Damn."
"You're doing it all wrong, missy," Xander said, grabbing some paper. "It's all in the wrist. Observe." He let his 'basketball' fly, and it landed in the garbage can with a small, hollow thunk.
Willow gave up on reading, and stole some paper from Xander's pile. She repeated his actions, her own shot landing in the can, as well. "That's two," she said, flashing a grin at her oldest friend.
Buffy frowned, crumpling up another sheet. She let the paper wad go with a little too much enthusiasm and it sailed across the room…smacking right into Spike's leg.
He looked down at the floor where the ball dropped, then up at the Slayer, arching one dark brow. Willow and Xander were snickering as Buffy's cheeks reddened slightly. "Sorry."
"Still haven't caught the hang of it, eh, luv?" Spike said, picking up the discarded paper and walking over to her. He bent and kissed her on the top of the head, then lobbed the ball at the garbage can casually over his shoulder without looking, sinking it like a pro.
"How'd you do that?" Buffy asked. "You didn't even look."
"Years of practice, pet," he replied, pulling out the desk chair and straddling it backwards. "You should see what I can do with a deck of cards."
"So, what are you doing here, Spike? Run out of people to kill?" Xander said, then shook his head mentally at his mouth for egging the vampire on. Luckily, Spike was in too good a mood to take offense at the teen.
"I can come and see my mate whenever I want to," Spike said, his grin belaying his tone.
"What is it with you and this 'mate' thing?" Xander said, his mouth running away from him some more. "What are you? Some sort of animal? Wait, never mind, you are."
Spike rolled his eyes, causing the girls to giggle. He was in a very silly mood. "No, you git, I'm only higher in the food chain than you." Ignoring Xander's stuttered outburst at that, he turned to the Slayer. "No dice on the information, ducks, but I had a bloody good time trying to get some."
"I bet you did," Buffy said. "Oh well. I guess you'll just have to try again tomorrow."
She laughed as his face brightened at the thought of more violence. Maybe she'd go with him, really freak the fledglings out.
Willow closed her textbook for good, setting it on the floor next to the bed. "How about a movie, guys? There's a new one on the Indian channel."
Xander perked up. "Sounds good to me. I could use some bad singing."
Buffy smiled. "Ok. I'll go throw in some popcorn. Spike, do you want to
stay and watch, too?"
"Wouldn't miss it for the world, pet," he replied, shedding his duster, then
following her out of the bedroom. The instant they were clear of the door,
he grabbed her, smashing his lips to hers in a passionate kiss. When he
broke it off, he gave her an off-kilter smile, then whistled as he headed
downstairs towards the kitchen. Buffy trailed after him as soon as her
knees started working again.
"This is so ridiculous," Buffy said quietly, long, wicked looking knife at
her side. She looked over at Faith, who held a similar blade in her hand.
"We've had snake men, fish boys, killer robots, invisible chicks, mummies,
bugs, blobs and vampires. But this? This tops the charts for ookiness."
"It had to happen sometime, B," Faith said. "After all, the poor guy has
been forced to predict the weather for god knows how long now. I'd snap,
"Yeah, but who ever heard of a demon groundhog?"
Violence. Such an elegant word to the one who craves it, embraces it. Violence gives off a natural high, an adrenaline rush not accomplished with any drug, any religion, any sexual act. And it is with this natural high that a fighter can become better, more fluid, more graceful, more powerful if they know how to use it, know how to harness it. Very few know how, for it is a combination of emotion and skill, is both mental and physical, takes cunning and agility. With this high, a midget could take on a giant and win. Or a Slayer and a vampire.
Buffy rolled to her feet, twisting her body to lash out with her foot, catching the vampire across the jaw. His head snapped back, the crack of the bone breaking echoing in the empty alley where so many similar fights have taken place. She stepped forward with a snap kick, nailing her opponent in the knee, snapping the tendons, causing him to fall towards her. Quickly, she pulled a stake from nowhere and plunged it into his heart. He exploded in a cloud of dust.
"He certainly was a waste of space," she said to herself, sliding the stake into its hiding place. Shoving her hands in the pockets of her leather jacket, she made her way out of the alley, continuing her patrol. She let her mind wander as she walked, her thoughts drifting to the ghost hanging out in the library. He'd been there for over a month now, talking and flirting with Willow. Mostly flirting. Willow hadn't noticed, though, she figured he was only interested in someone to talk to. After all, he was dead. Corpses didn't make good conversationalists.
They had yet to find out who the vampires or their intended victims were for the St. Valentine's Day Massacre reenactment James had prophesized. Spike had gone whole hog in 'persuading' those he found into giving him information, but to no avail.
Spike. When Buffy thought of him, her insides melted into a bowl of pudding bringing a smile to her face. Her greatest opponent turned into her greatest love. And love him she did, a bright, happy love that kept the darkness of her non-chosen life at bay. He was so different than Angel, light where Angel was dark, lean instead of brawny, outgoing rather than withdrawn. He wasn't afraid to touch her, to demand her touch. He challenged her, made her think, wouldn't let her slide into the depression that sometimes threatened to overwhelm her when she thought about all who died because of her inability to kill Angelus, when she thought about the pain she caused her friend, her mentor, her Watcher, Giles.
When they made love, it was like the heavens were singing, no matter that he had no soul. And each time he said her name, the sky would burst into all the colors of the rainbow, showering her with joy and wonder that this man could love her. And love her he did, a tender, all encompassing love that made her quiver with its intensity, its fire engulfing her wholly, truly, completely. The only barrier to their love was that he was a vampire. And she was the Slayer. The last time she ignored that fact, lives were destroyed, including the one whose heart she now held.
She knew he wouldn't turn her, wouldn't make her into that which she most feared. But could she stand by as the innocent lives she was sworn to protect were snuffed out to bring life to the man she loved? Should she make that same mistake by not staking him as she did Angelus all those months ago? Or should she do her sacred duty and destroy the most gentle yet savage creature to enter her all too short life? The choice was simple. The choice was complicated. The choice was impossible.
One day, she'd have to talk to him about it. But not today.
"You know, if we don't find out who these mugs are, there's gonna be seven stiffs wearing wooden kimonos," James said, sitting back down next to Willow and her computer. "What's the wire?"
"Uh…no news is good news?" Willow said carefully. She shrugged. "Maybe Spike will have found something out tonight."
"Spike. That's the blond cat who's dizzy with the hot tomato, right?" James asked.
"Yes, Buffy," she replied, typing a few keys on the computer. Suddenly, her face lit up. "I think I found something. Giles!"
"Yes, Willow?" Giles said, exiting his office.
"I got an order from the mayor's office that is suppose to be delivered on the 14th," she said excitedly. "It's for seven coffins. Oh, that's not good."
"Does that machine tell you where the, uh, coffins are to be brought?" Giles asked.
Willow searched the screen for a moment, her mouse rapidly clicking. "Drat. No, it doesn't, only that it's for somewhere in Sunnydale on Valentine's Day, which is odd considering its on a Sunday this year."
"Hmm, interesting," Giles said, removing his glasses and sticking the corner in his mouth as he thought.
"What's interesting?" Xander said, entering the library with Faith, having met up with her in the hall.
"Delivery of coffins on Valentine's Day," Willow supplied to her friends.
"Nothing says I love you like a pine box," Xander quipped. "Speaking of wood, anyone see the Buffster?"
"Nope," she replied. "I haven't seen her since yesterday."
"Maybe she's doing a little undercover work," Faith suggested, a lewd smile on her face.
"Get your mind out of that gutter, young lady," Xander scolded. "I'd rather think of Buffy as-as-as chaste, and, uh, pure and my love slave."
"Too late for that, Xand," Faith said. "Have you seen the bites on that girls neck? Damn, they had to be goin' at it like bunnies." Giles cleared his throat, his eyes wide and a slight pallor washed across his skin. "Oh, sorry, Giles. I guess you don't want to hear about B's voracious love for all things Spike. My bad."
"Voracious?" Xander asked, pointedly.
Faith shrugged. "It was on my word a day calendar. Sue me."
"Yes, well, um…to-to get back to St. Valentine's Day," Giles prompted, sliding his glasses back into place. "Willow is trying to unearth more information from that dread machine."
"Computer, Giles," Xander said. "Com-pu-ter. It's not that hard once you get the hang of the English language."
Giles glared at him. "We need to find out where the delivery is to be made."
"Why don't we just do a stake out?" Faith asked. "There's not too many ways into this 'burb. We should be able to cover them all between the bunch of us. Then bada bing, bada boom, we slay."
"Well, I, er…guess that would do," Giles stammered.
"Cool," Faith said, heading for the door. "I'm gone then. Check ya laters."
James looked over at Willow who gave him a shrug and a smile before returning her attention to the computer. "That twist sure has a yap on her."
"Hey, you're a little too dead to be looking at her yap," Xander said to the ghost. Willow and James laughed at his misunderstanding. "Fine, laugh at me. But just you wait 'til Faith knocks you on your ghostly hiney, then we'll see who laughs."
"What do you bloody want?" Spike said, glaring at the vampire in front of him. He was on his way to Buffy's house for a nice, quiet, hopefully naked evening with the Slayer when he was stopped.
"I heard you had a ghost problem," Angel said, falling into step with the peroxide blond.
"The only problem we've got is you, mate," he replied. "Can't you stay gone?"
"Look, I don't know what the hell you've done to Buffy or what you're planning, but if you hurt her, I will hunt you down like the dog you are and skin you," Angel snapped.
"I'd like to see you try, you stupid sod," Spike growled back.
The right cross that caught his jaw came as a complete surprise to the blond vampire. He hadn't expected Angel to do anything, he usually was all talk and no action. Head snapping back with the blow, Spike dropped into a defensive stance as the second swing came, blocking it with his forearm before throwing his own punch. Angel ducked back out of the way, kicking out and tripping the younger vampire.
Spike sprang back to his feet, lashing out with a kick to his sire's midsection, breaking ribs. Grunting, Angel sent a spinning back kick to his face, knocking him on the other side of the jaw. The fight became more involved and brutal, and they did not notice the blond figure approaching them until she screamed.
"Spike! Angel! What the hell are you doing!" Buffy yelled, staying clear of the fight. It would have been comical, the way they suddenly stopped, if she wasn't upset they were fighting. Spike was the first to send her a sheepish smile.
"Sorry, pet. Just having a bit of fun with peaches here," he said, walking towards her. She stopped him with a sharp poke in his chest.
"Don't you 'pet' me," she ground out. "I want to know why you two were fighting, and I want to know now!"
"He started it," Spike said, pointing to Angel. Angel glared at him, wiping the blood from his mouth on his sleeve.
"I don't care who started it! I want to know why!"
Spike faced her, his eyes wide at the Slayer's anger. Then he realized something else was underlying her outburst as he observed the way she stood, the way her eyes flicked over to Angel even as she glared at him. He really hated when his sire came to town. "It's a guy thing, luv. He was only making sure I was taking care of you." Not really the truth, but not a total lie, either.
Buffy's brow was knotted as she started at him, weighing what he said. "Fine. Just don't do it again," she told him, then turned to Angel. "What are you doing here?"
"Giles called," Angel simply said. Buffy nodded, then started to walk again. Spike shot Angel a murderous glare, then hustled to catch up with her.
"Ducks? Do you still want me to come over?" he asked with shy hopefulness.
The Slayer couldn't help the small quirk of her lips at his tone, reminding her of the vast contradictions that made him unique. "Yes, you can still come over," she replied with a dramatic sigh. When his whole face lit up she let go of her anger at him and laughed. "I don't know why I put up with you."
He stopped her suddenly, grabbing her arm and pulling her so they were standing inches apart. He cupped her chin with his other hand, ignoring the fact that Angel was standing a few feet back, and tilted her face to his. "I hope it's because you love me," he said quietly, uncertainty in his eyes. "Not because of him."
The choice was simple.