In Jealousy's Wake


by Saber ShadowKitten







Part One





"You want me to what?" Spike stared at Buffy incredulously. She couldn't have just ask what he thought she'd asked.

"I want you to pretend to be my boyfriend," Buffy repeated, looking past him and around the cemetery. She was doing her rounds and happenstance to run across her reluctant helpmate, which was what she had been hoping to do. If her plan was going to work, she needed a boyfriend and fast.

The Slayer had asked what Spike thought she asked. "Why the bloody hell do you think I'd want to do something like that?" he questioned.

"You know what, forget it," she said. "I'll ask Xander. Or Riley."

She started to walk away, but he grabbed her arm. "I didn't say I wouldn't do it, Slayer."

"Well, excuse me for not knowing that," she said, ripping her arm from his grasp. "The utter disgust on your face at the thought of being my boyfriend must have been your way of looking pleased."

"I only asked you why," Spike scowled. "And why didn't you ask the other blokes first? After all, pet, we aren't the best of friends."

"You lie better," Buffy said. "And you won't be intimidated."

Spike arched a brow. "Does this post come with hazard pay?"

"Look, will you do it or not?" Buffy snapped. "Because I have vampires to go kill, present company included if you don't answer."

He put his hands up in mock defense. "Testy, Slayer. Someone sure has her knickers in a twist over something." The stake came out of her sleeve. "Hold your bloody horses, pet. If you're rarin' for a fight, I'd be happy to give it a go."

"Yes or no, Spike," she growled.

"Before I decide, I want to know what's in it for me?" Spike said, dropping his arms.

Buffy smiled bitterly. "Revenge."

"Against who?" He knew the answer before the question was even out of his mouth. "I'll do it."

"Meet me outside of Willy's in an hour and I'll tell you what I want you to do," she said.

"Will do, pet," he said.

She nodded, the stake disappearing back up her sleeve, and walked away. Spike stared after her a moment, then went off in the opposite direction.

*****



Two weeks earlier

"What?" Buffy gasped, staring at Willow in shock.

"Angel and Cordelia," Willow said carefully. "They were all over each other at the club. If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it."

"But...but...Angel," she stammered.

"They didn't know Oz and I were there," Willow said. "It was just chance that we ended up at the same club they were at."

"...and...and...Cordelia?" Buffy continued, trying to grasp the concept.

"Um, yeah," Willow said softly, laying her hand on Buffy's knee. "I'm sorry."

Buffy shook her head and a hard look entered her eyes. "How 'all over each other' were they?"

"Do you really want to-" Willow gulped when Buffy glared at her. "They looked like they were licking each others toes by going through their mouths."

"And their hands," Buffy said, her eyes narrowing.

"Under the clothing and on...parts," the redhead answered.

Buffy pursed her lips together and her jaw ticked from clenching it so hard. She nodded once, rose, and headed out of the dorm room. That night, the vampires turned tail and ran at the waves of fury radiating off of her.

*****



Present

Spike lit up a cigarette and inhaled deeply, allowing the smoke to curl into his dead lungs. He was sitting on the edge of the wall that separated the outdoor tables at the coffee shop from the sidewalk, awaiting the Slayer as promised. Raising his head, he looked out onto the dark streets, searching for her and for threats.

He'd been back in Sunnydale 'officially' for almost a year, watching the Slayer's back and helping out when he could by getting information through non-human sources. He had been blackmailed by Whistler into making his presence known and joining the fight for good, instead of staying in the shadows like he had been since the freak snow of 1998. What the demon had on Spike was something that the blond vampire never wanted anyone to know, living or unliving.

He heard the Slayer's sharp steps on the pavement before she came into view. He could tell that she was angry by the way her heels hit the ground with hard raps and, having grilled Willy about his sire during the interlude, he knew why. When she finally came into view, he felt the familiar tightening inside of him, like he'd been sucker-punched by Superman. To him, the Slayer was like a black widow spider -- beautiful and deadly.

Over the past year and a half, he'd watched as her skills became more and more precise, culminating to the point where he'd be hard-pressed to beat her one-on-one. He secretly praised her Watcher, even though he was no longer officially in that position, for his training of her. It took a real man to not stop his duties even though he'd been fired and replaced, then had his Slayer quit the Council altogether.

"Hello, Slayer," Spike greeted casually, cigarette dangling from his lips.

"Let's walk," Buffy said, barely pausing her steps as she waited for him to join her.

Spike hopped off the wall and fell into step with her. He saw the tension in her shoulders and in the clenching of her jaw. Normally, he egg her on to see how far he could go before the stake came out. Tonight, however, he did not. "I know what happened with the ponce, so you don't need to tell me."

"Good," Buffy said.

"What do you want me to do?" he asked, flicking his cigarette away.

"I told you, I want you to act like you're my boyfriend," she said, irritation in her voice.

"I know that," he growled, then clamped down on his temper. "I meant how?"

Buffy looked over at him with a frown. "What do you mean, how? You do boyfriendly stuff."

"Slayer, I've never been anyone's bleedin' boyfriend, pretend or otherwise," he said, shoving his hands in his duster pockets.

"What about Drusilla?" she questioned.

Spike chuckled hollowly. "Dru and I were anything but that."

"Great," Buffy sighed. "I haven't had a real boyfriend since I was fifteen, not including Scott."

"Scott?" Spike said, wondering who he was. He only thought that Angel had been her...whatever they had been.

"Just a guy I dated for, like, three weeks. Of course, Angel came back during the second week and I was taking care of him, then Scott dumped me...never mind," she said, her pace quickening as her unresolved hurt over that incident layered onto her anger with Angel.

"Let me make sure I understand," he said. "You want me to pretend to be your boyfriend, but you don't know how you want me to act and I sure as bloody hell don't know how to act." He paused and gave her a half-smile. "We're buggered."

Buffy snorted, then fell into silence. They continued walking until they reached the docks. The Slayer walked to the edge of the pier and looked out over the water.

Spike watched her out of the corner of his eye. Anger wasn't the only emotion he could see in her face. Hurt and sadness, plus a little bit of jealousy, all rolled across her features as she stared out over the black ocean. Despite their no longer being together, he knew that she still loved him. Love was not like a faucet that could be turned on and off at will, as he very well knew.

He knew she was not exclusively angry that Angel had moved on, she was also angry because he had moved on to one of her friends. It rubbed salt into the wound in her heart caused by their breakup. It didn't help that the only person she thought he couldn't be with was her, but he could be with anyone else he chose.

"When is he coming?" Spike finally asked, breaking the silence.

"Friday," Buffy answered. "There's a new baddie suppose to be arising with the new moon and Giles felt that we'd need his help."

"And you were going to tell me this when?" he scowled.

"Tonight, whether you agreed to help me or not," she replied calmly. "I just found out this morning myself."

"Then we have three days to figure out how to act like a couple," he said, a frown netting his brows. "Are we suppose to be a new couple or and old couple?"

Buffy shrugged. "Don't know, don't care. Just as long as he gets the message that I am so over him he could explode in a cloud of dust and I wouldn't bat an eye."

"Ouch," he commented. A smile of evil glee crossed his face. His sire was going to hurt.

"Yeah," Buffy said, her eyes glittering with the idea as she met his eyes. "Ouch."





Part Two







Buffy rang the bell at the address Spike had given her. "What is it with vampires and warehouses," she muttered, pocketing the scrap of paper he'd scribbled on the previous night. Despite his help for close to a year, she'd never been to where he lived. She'd never even knew where it was until now.

She remembered the first night she'd found out he'd be helping her. It had been pouring outside and he had entered the small bookstore Giles owned, soaked and swearing. She had immediately leapt up and pinned him against the register counter, reaching for a pencil to use as a stake. He had called white flag and, because he had done so once before and helped her save the world, she released him. He then had pulled an envelope out of his pocket and handed it to Giles.

She smiled when she remembered the shock on Giles' face, and the unhappiness on Spike's, when the letter from Whistler was read. Spike had given Giles a phone number, then disappeared, only to mysteriously show up whenever she needed help. He was worse than Angel when it came to appearing out of nowhere.

Thinking of Angel caused a scowl to form on her face, and that was what Spike opened his door to. "Slayer, you're looking quite peckish this evening."

"Up yours, Spike," Buffy said, pushing past him.

"Please, do come in," he said sarcastically, closing the door behind her.

Buffy blew out a breath of air and apologized. "Sorry. That was rude of me."

"If you weren't rude, I'd be worried you were sick," he commented, gesturing to a stairwell beside the door. "Up we go."

Buffy let Spike lead up the four flights of stairs to the top level of the three-storey, boarded up warehouse. The Slayer couldn't hide her shock when she stepped through the fire door into his home. "Wow," she said, her eyes huge as she stood by the stairwell door.

She had expected dark, gothic colors, not the bright, cheery atmosphere she found herself in. The ceiling, venting, and brickwork were all exposed, and three black, old-fashioned ceiling fans hung suspended straight down the large room. The floor was hardwood and in a light walnut color throughout the level, with a few throw rugs scattered around.

The stairwell was located in the southeast corner of the room, bricked off, with a black fire door. Directly across from it was where the kitchen was located. A chest-high, beige counter partitioned the kitchen off, with one of the black, metal support beams serving as the corner-point for the area. A modern stove, refrigerator and sink filled the area along the east wall, with the same colored cabinets on the walls above as the hardwood flooring.

Just outside of the kitchen was a table and four chairs and beyond the next support beam, heading west on the north side of the floor, was an open area with a stack of mats against a beige wall. The entire south side of the floor was utilized as a living room. A light brown couch, love-seat and recliner formed a sitting area, with a low, walnut colored coffee table in the center on a large, western-colored throw rug. An end table was between the couch and the love-seat with a simple lamp on it. On the other side of the couch was a freestanding halogen lamp, with the recliner beside that. On the floor next to the recliner was an old fashioned magazine holder.

Along another built, beige wall was an entertainment center and bookshelves. Both were filled to capacity with books, CDS, movies, cassettes and albums. She saw ashtrays scattered around, along with open magazines, piles of newspapers, and yellow legal pads with Spike's chicken-scratchings on them. There were also bare shelves running at various levels along the walls, with a cut up box every so often, which made Buffy wonder what the shelves were used for.

She finally whistled in awe, and took a hesitant step forward. "Go ahead," he said, when she looked at him in askance.

Buffy took off her jacket and handed it to him, then ventured towards the small hallway created by the beige walls at the west end of the floor. There were two doors, both open, to her left and right. The one on the right led into a simple bathroom, done in white and green. The door on the left led to the bedroom.

A queen-sized bed was in the center of the wall across from the door, with a plain, light blue comforter on it, and night stands on either side. Along the brick outer wall was a wardrobe cabinet and, against the additional wall, was a chest of drawers. All the furnishings were the in the same colored wood as the hardwood floors.

And the most unusual thing was the white, short-haired cat with bright blue eyes sitting in the center of the bed. It stared at her, unblinkingly, until Buffy got the feeling that the feline was sizing her up. After a moment, the cat stood, stretched, then hopped off the bed and padded silently out of the bedroom.

Buffy followed and was in time to see the animal leap up to one of the shelves on the wall and move along it until the feline reached the kitchen. "Spike, I didn't know you owned a cat," she commented, as the cat jumped onto the refrigerator and began eating food from a dish she hadn't noticed.

"I don't own a cat," Spike told her as he handed her a Diet Coke. "He owns me."

She couldn't help but smile and shook her head at the total unbelievability of his home. "I really like your place," she said, popping the tab on the soda. "It's so...non-vampire like."

"Well, I'm going to be here for a very long time," he said. "I might as well have things how I like it." He gestured towards the living room area. "Have a seat."

Buffy sat down on the couch and sighed at its comfortableness. Spike sat down on the love-seat and parked his feet on the coffee table. He set a dark-brown mug down on the end table, then picked up a pack of cigarettes and a lighter off of it. "Alright, Slayer. Let's decide how we're going to do this."

She leaned forward and set her soda on the coffee table, then curled her legs up under her. "How riled up do you want to risk getting Angel? We both know that you are not his favorite person, alive or undead."

"I say bring the wanker on," Spike replied. He lit up a cigarette, then set the lighter back down on the open pack. He picked up the mug and took a drink.

"Then we'll be lovers."

Spike inhaled sharply, causing him to choke. He quickly set the mug down and covered his face with his hands, the cigarette between his fingers. He coughed so hard his eyes watered.

"Are you ok?" Buffy asked, when he finally calmed down.

"Would you mind repeating that?" he said, his voice hoarse as he stared at her.

"I said we should be lovers," she repeated.

"That's what I thought you said," Spike told her. He leaned back and inhaled deeply on the cigarette, looking up at the ceiling. The cat jumped up on the back of the couch and butted his head against Spike's ear. He reached up and scratched the cat behind the ears, his thoughts revolving around one word: **Fuck.**

"God, Spike, is the thought that we're lovers so revolting that you can't talk?" Buffy snapped, rising quickly to her feet. "Thanks so much for the compliment."

"Sit down," Spike growled, lowering his head to pin her with his eyes. "Now."

"Forget it," she said, heading for the door. "I knew I shouldn't have bothered to ask you for help."

He had her pinned against the door in an instant. "How the bloody hell did you expect me to react, Slayer? Should I have jumped for joy? Kissed your feet for allowing me to pretend to worship your body?"

"A simple 'no' or 'ok, pet' would have been just fine," she said, glaring furiously at him. "I know you hate me..."

"I don't hate you," Spike snarled. "You just bloody took me by surprise! Cor, I expected hand holding and flowers and maybe a friggin' kiss or two to show the prick up. Do you know how impossible it would be to pretend we're lovers?"

"Thanks a lot, Spike," Buffy hissed in a low, hurt voice. "You really know how to make a girl feel special."

"That's not what I meant!" Spike yelled. He released her and stormed away from her. "I'm a vampire-"

"I know that," she spat.

He spun and glared at her, his blue eyes like chips of ice. "Do you? Do you really?"

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Duh. You drink blood, you're immortal, you have no soul."

"Exactly," he said. "I have no soul. I'm not like Angel."

"Of course I know you're not like him," she said, folding her arms over her chest. "But what does this have to do with your pretending to be my lover?"

Spike closed his eyes and clenched his hands into fists, trying to calm down. He ground his blunt teeth together, his cheekbones becoming more pronounced with the action. Once he was certain he wasn't going to let his demon's face come to the foreground, he opened his eyes and said in a low, deceptively calm tone, "I am a vampire. There is no way for us to pretend to be lovers. Angel would never believe it."

"Why not?" Buffy asked, confusion coloring her anger with him.

"Slayer, vampires mark their human lovers with their bite," Spike told her.

"But Angel-"

"Had a bloody soul!" he snapped. "And he probably had to bite the friggin' pillow so as not to bite you!"

Buffy continued to glare at him, but she cast her mind back to the only night she'd ever had sex. The night was only flashes of memory now, sensory images that were burned into her mind. She remembered Angel's growl of pleasure as he came and tried to focus in on the sound. Using whatever extra-sensory perception she had because she was a Slayer, she was able to discern that Spike was more than likely correct.

"Ok, you're probably right," she said. "And, as much as I don't want your fangs to get near me, if I hold a stake to your heart, you can probably-"

"No."

The simple word held more finality in it than Angel's leaving her after the Ascension did close to a year ago. Spike had turned away from Buffy, not allowing her to see his face. "You're serious, aren't you?" she said. "I thought you'd pretty much kill to be able to drink my blood, I know the kind of additional boost it gives you, and here I am offering you a free taste."

"Slayer," Spike said slowly, staring at a spot on the floor hard enough to burn a hole in it. "I can pretend to be your boyfriend, I can pretend to love you more than blood, and I can make sure Angel knows that you're over him; but I cannot pretend to be your lover."

Buffy felt tears welling up in her eyes as all of her insecurities came rushing forward now that the anger had dissipated. She bit the inside of her lip to keep from letting them fall down her face, but they did not heed her wishes and freely made tracks down her cheeks. "Am I...am I that horrible?" she asked, having a sickening need to know whether or not she was as undesirable as Angel had told her so long ago.

Spike turned at the trembling in her voice and saw her looking at him with haunted, scared and insecure eyes, tears falling down her face. He felt like he'd been slammed by a locomotive at the realization that he was the one to make her cry. Walking back to her, he set his hands on her shoulders and looked her right in the eye.

"Slayer, you are beyond desirable," he told her. "You're enticing and tantalizing and enthralling and electrifying. Your body titillates no matter what you wear. You're dangerous and deadly, which only serves to fuel the temptation your delectable body makes. That's why Angel had to leave you to begin with. How long do you think he could resist? He may be a guilt-plagued poof, but he is still a man."

"But then why won't you bite me?" Buffy asked, a flush of pleasure staining her skin under her tears from his words. "That would ensure that Angel would hurt."

"I can't," Spike said, his voice quiet, but firm.

A light dawned in Buffy's red eyes. "Whistler," she said. "You can't bite me because of him."

He released her and turned away, chuckling bitterly. "You could say that."

Silence permeated his home. The cat walked over and wove himself around Spike's legs, and he bent and picked the feline up. Petting the cat, he walked over to the end table and picked the cigarette up that he had dropped into the ashtray when the Slayer went to leave. He took a long drag on it, staring sightlessly at the beige wall separating his bedroom from the living room.

He knew he'd admitted too much for his own piece of mind. He'd all but told her how attracted he was to her. Luckily, she had put two and two together and came up with five. Whistler did hold the truth over him like the Sword of Damocles and expected certain things from him in return for keeping quiet. However, not biting the Slayer had never come up.

"Listen, pet," he said, extinguishing his cigarette. "How about if we just haven't gotten to that point yet?"

"Do you think he'd believe that?" Buffy said, watching him and wondering what sort of hold Whistler had over Spike. She was going to have to have Willow do some digging. Perhaps he was using magick or was holding Drusilla captive.

"He would if I were madly in love with you," Spike answered, setting the cat on the floor. "I could probably convince him that I want to wait because of what happened between him and you."

"Really layer on the guilt?" she said, a smile forming.

"Like cream cheese," he replied, an echoing smile crossing his lips.

Buffy giggled. "You are so weird."

"Thank you," Spike said, bowing slightly. He gestured to the couch. "Why don't you come back here and we'll watch a picture and I'll hold your hand."

"Why would you want to do that?" Buffy asked, frowning at him, but moving back towards the sitting area.

"We have to start somewhere if we're going to be comfortable enough with each other to fool my trotting sire," he replied. He grinned mischievously at her. "You didn't think that I really want to hold your hand."

She rolled her eyes and took a seat, picking up her soda on the way. "Make sure there's a clear path to the bathroom," she said, taking a sip.

Spike turned from his perusal of his video selection and looked at her. "Why's that, Slayer?"

"Because holding your hand may make me hurl."




Continued 1