In Jealousy's Wake


by Saber ShadowKitten





Part Three







"It's been a total of six hours in two nights," Spike said, sliding his duster on. "A bloody record."

"Well, you haven't done anything to really annoy me yet," Buffy told him, pretty proud of their non-fighting record herself. She followed him out the door of his place. "But tonight is just starting."

Spike chuckled and locked the main door, then pocketed his keys. Reaching down, he took the Slayer's hand and they headed towards the Bronze. Both of them were more aware of each other and comfortable with one another after only one night of being together. The stake she had hidden up her sleeve had not come out once.

They had held hands the previous night for an entire movie, then moved to the kitchen table to bicker over the film while having a late night treat. Buffy had proclaimed her love for him when he took out a carton of Double Chocolate Fudge Ripple Ice Cream and said she'd move right in. His laugh had been rich and full, filling the top floor of the warehouse and making her really smile for the first time in two weeks.

Tonight was their second step in building up a convincing show for Angel. Wednesday night at the Bronze was no cover, and they had planned to dance and act as couple-like as they knew how. Willow, and therefore Oz, were the only two who knew of the plan between Buffy and Spike. Spike had joked that they should take notes from the other couple's behavior and Buffy agreed -- as long as the note-taking wasn't with his doctor-like handwriting.

Entering the semi-crowded club, Spike spotted the redhead and her boyfriend and he wove his way to them, still holding Buffy's hand. He nodded a silent greeting to the wolf, who returned the same, as they sat down.

"So, how's it going?" Willow asked.

"Spike's not a walking dust pile," Buffy replied, taking off her jacket.

"I've read that's healthy step in a relationship," Oz said. "Not killing the other person."

"I still don't think this is a good idea," Willow said, looking between Buffy and Spike. "I mean, I know Angel did a bad thing. Really bad. But you guys broke up."

"And I'm over him," Buffy stated. "I just want him to know it." She grinned maliciously. "Plus a little retaliation never hurt."

"That's where you're wrong, Slayer," Spike said under his non-existent breath, too low for anyone to hear. He knew from first hand experience that retaliation could hurt more than the sun hurts a vampire. However, that did not stop him from wanting to get back emotionally at his sire for taking Drusilla away from him, and taking Angel's first true love, even if it was for pretend, was the perfect way.

Buffy turned to him as a slow song cued up. "Want to dance?"

"Sure, pet," he answered, sliding his coat off of his shoulders to leave at the table. She smiled at him and took his hand, pulling him after her towards the dance floor. Once there, she dropped his hand and slid her arms around his neck, as he slid his hands around her lower back.

Swaying to the slow beat, the two slowly drew closer and closer to each other. By the end of the song, Buffy had laid her head on his chest and Spike had his cheek pressed against the top of her head. A second slow song started, and the two did not change positions, any and all tension and nervousness disappearing with the music.

When a faster beat cued up, the two separated and exchanged content smiles. "That wasn't too bad," Buffy said, as they headed back towards the table.

"No, it wasn't," Spike agreed, having enjoyed holding the Slayer in his arms almost too much. If he wasn't careful, he would begin to believe that their 'relationship' was real, and that would lead to things that couldn't happen.

The remainder of the night alternated between dancing and conversation with the other couple. At one point, Spike put his hand on Buffy's knee, and she felt a warm, tingling sensation under her skin where he touched. It was hard to concentrate on what they were talking about after that point, because she became super-aware of the man beside her.

She had never thought of Spike as anything other than an annoying vampire who showed up when she was in over her head, killed the bad guys, then disappeared after a few mocking comments. Admittedly, she was curious as to how he always knew when she needed help, and she'd had many hilarious conversations with Willow about what sort of superhero the blond vampire could be, complete with tights and other paraphernalia.

She knew Giles called him to get information through the vampire grapevine and other non-human sources, but she never really wanted to get to know her blackmailed helper. Now that she was starting to get to know him as a person, she was finding herself liking him a lot more than she should like a vampire, even if he was a 'good' one.

It was with that state of mind that they walked backed to his place to get her car. They held hands again, and Buffy noticed the way his cooler hand fit perfectly with hers. She liked the way his long fingers curled over the back of her hand, the way he absently brushed his thumb back and forth across her skin.

"I have a question for you," Buffy said, breaking into the comfortable silence.

"I have an answer for you," Spike replied, giving her a half-grin.

"Funny," she said with a roll of her eyes.

He chuckled. "What's your question, luv?"

"Ok, I know that you're supposed to help me and I'm not supposed to kill you," she started. "And I'm surprised I never flat out asked you before, it being my sacred duty and all..."

"Are you planning to ask me any time soon, pet?" Spike interrupted, giving her hand a playful tug.

"Sorry," Buffy said, giving him a sheepish look. "I wanted to know how you eat. I know Angel will bring up the whole 'he's a bloodsucking killer' thing, and if that's still true..."

"It's not," he answered immediately. However, his voice dropped until it was almost a whisper, and it took almost a pain-filled note. "You can tell the tosser I bag it."

"Really?" she said, surprised. "Wow. Whatever Whistler has on you must be pretty juicy stuff to get you to change your soulless ways."

The bark of laughter that came from him was so bitter, Buffy cringed. He dropped her hand and she immediately felt bereft, and she chastised herself for bringing up an obviously painful subject. "I'm sorry," she told him. "I didn't mean to pry."

Spike pulled out a cigarette and lit up. After allowing the first rush of nicotine to hit him, he blew out the smoke and said, "Don't worry about it, Slayer. That's something a girl would know about her boyfriend."

"I doubt 'Does he suck the blood out of the living?' is a question in one of those 'How Well Do You Know Your Boyfriend?' quizzes," she said, trying to lighten the mood.

"I took one of those once," Spike said, allowing her to change the subject. "I think it was 'How Good of a Lover Are You?'"

"Let me guess, you're a vampire Lothario," Buffy said.

He gave her a devilish grin. "Actually, I failed it miserably."

"Now, why don't I believe you?" she asked. He chuckled and the tension was released.

*****



"Drusilla's dead."

"What?" Buffy stared at Willow in surprise.

"Dead, as in poof, no more," Willow said. "So Whistler isn't using her to blackmail Spike."

"Wait, how do you know this?"

"Willy," the redhead replied. "With the right amount of persuasion, he's a wealth of information. And wealthier himself." She grinned at her own joke.

"Who killed her?" Buffy asked.

Willow shrugged. "He didn't know. All he remembered was that Spike had come to the Alibi Bar the Christmas that it snowed, drunk as a skunk, and when Willy asked him if there was trouble in Loveland, Spike told him Drusilla was dead, then he left."

"That means that Spike was here less than a month after he kidnaped you and Xander," she said. She had a horrible thought. "Maybe he tortured her too much and killed her."

"But that information couldn't be used as blackmail," Willow said logically.

"I hope that's not what happened," Buffy said quietly. "No one should ever have to go through that pain." She gave Willow a sad smile, pushing away her memories. Angel was alive and alright, even if he was kissing Cordelia. "Ok, I'm fine. What else did you find out?"

"Um, I don't think Whistler has any magick powers," Willow told her. "But he could be using witchcraft."

"It would have to be a really powerful spell to get Spike to stop feeding from people," she pointed out.

"Maybe he'll get his soul back if he sinks his fangs into someone?" Willow suggested.

"Maybe," Buffy said. "He was very not willing to bite me."

"You wanted him to bite you!" she exclaimed. "Buffy, are you nuts! Remember what happened the last time?"

"Angel got better and helped saved lives," Buffy said calmly. "Don't go there, Willow. I would make that same choice now. Anyway, Spike refused, so it doesn't matter."

"What did he say?" Willow asked. "'Thanks for the offer, but if I bite you, Whistler will spill the beans?'"

"Actually, he just said that he couldn't," Buffy replied, frowning slightly. "He didn't bring up Whistler at all, I did."

"Why don't you just ask Spike?" Willow said. "I mean, now that I'm really thinking about it, this is kinda wrong. So is blackmail, but if it's making Spike not eat people, it must be something pretty big and he probably doesn't want us to know what it is, which is why he is allowing himself to be blackmailed. This is Spike."

"And not much bothers him," Buffy said. "Maybe after Angel goes back to LA, I'll ask him. I made a boo-boo last night by asking him how he feeds and things got all tense. It was not of the fun."

"Good idea," Willow said. "So what are you two going to practice tonight?"

"Kissing."





Part Four







"Awkward much?" Buffy asked later that night at Spike's home. They were standing in front of one another, both of them wearing uncomfortable expressions on their faces. Their body language screamed tension, as if they were ready to bolt at the slightest provocation.

"It's just a bloody kiss," Spike said, then clenched his teeth back together.

"Just a kiss," she agreed. "It doesn't mean anything."

"Right," he said quickly. "This is pretend."

"Pretend, fake, not real," she said equally as fast.

"Right."

"Right."

They stood there, neither of them moving. The cat suddenly jumped down from a shelf, landing between them. Buffy let out a muffled shriek and Spike yelled something unintelligible as they both jumped back in fright. The feline looked from one person to the other, then sauntered away.

Buffy raised her gaze to meet Spike's and they both burst out laughing. Tears streamed down their faces and the Slayer was bent double, gasping for air. Spike had to brace one arm on the wall so as not to collapse, and was wiping his eyes with the back of his other hand.

"Oh god," Buffy said, calming down.

"Remind me to have the cat for supper later," Spike said. He leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest.

"I don't know," she said. "I think he deserves a treat for that."

Spike turned his head to track his cat's movements. He watched as the feline disappeared down the small hallway, more than likely to go sleep in the bedroom.

"Spike?"

He turned his head back to find Buffy standing right beside him. Before he could even comprehend her presence, she went up on her toes and kissed him softly on the lips. He blinked in shock, his arms falling to his sides and, as impossible as it was, his heart pounded a single beat in his chest. He stared owlishly at her for a moment, then whispered, "Do that again."

Buffy's lips curved up into a smile, and she raised herself back up on her toes and pressed her lips to his with no hesitation. His hands moved around her waist and pulled her closer to him, both their eyes falling shut simultaneously. She slid her hands up around his neck, just like when they danced the night before, only this time her actions were to hold him to her as the kiss slowly deepened.

Spike was lost in a sea of sensations, unable to discern one from another. Each one was more powerful than the next, shaking him to the core, preventing him from doing anything other than feel. And feel he did, causing his senses to overload.

He tasted like mint, with an underlying hint of tobacco and the metallic tang of blood. Her toes curled up when his tongue met hers for the first time, leaving her barely balanced on the balls of her feet. She inhaled a shaky breath as their tongues tangled like their words always had, and she found herself assaulted by the purely male scent of him and the faint odor of cigarettes. She'd always thought the scent of cigarettes was unpleasant until now.

Her body became completely aware of the proximity of his, tingling in some places, tightening in others. She felt her heart flutter in her chest before it began to pound in anticipation. She pressed herself closer to him, and shots of electricity coursed through her as her breasts pushed against the solid wall of his chest, her lower body pressed intimately against his.

Hot. Cold. Soft. Hard. Vanilla. Silky. Blood. Baby Powder. Heart pounding. Berry. Cinnamon. Shaky breaths. Power. Female. Arousal. Mint. Bubble-gum. Pliant. Curvaceous. Diamonds. Musky. Tantalizing. Tangy. Heaven. Hell. Wanting. Needing. Smooth. Strong. Sweet. Salty. Pulse racing. Slayer. Buffy. Slayer. Pain. Buffy. Pain. Slayer. Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain.

Spike abruptly pushed Buffy away from him with a loud growl and she had just enough time to see his yellow eyes blazing before losing her balance and falling to her butt on the floor. She watched, wide-eyed, as he leapt over the counter into the kitchen and practically tore the freezer door off its hinges. He snatched something from inside and the next thing she knew, the bathroom door slammed shut.

In the bathroom, Spike turned on the water faucet full blast to cold. He cupped his hands under the water and bent down to splash his ridged face. His jaw was clenched tight as he willed himself to calm down. Tears of pain mingled with the drops of water as he continuously splashed the cold water on himself.

After what seemed like forever, his face slowly shifted back into its human planes and he turned off the water. Leaning over the sink, with his hands splayed flat on the counter, he took deep, calming, purposeful breaths. The pain settled into a general ache and he reached for a towel to wipe his face off. He then took the still cold, gelatinous mouth-guard he'd retrieved from the freezer out of his mouth and set it on the sink.

There was a knock on the door and Buffy's voice drifted through it. "Spike? Are you ok?"

Spike took another deep, unnecessary breath and blew it out slowly before answering. "Yeah, Slayer. I'll be out in a minute. Why don't you choose a picture for us to watch, alright?"

"Um, ok," she replied.

He heard her walk away from the door and cursed softly. He never expected kissing the Slayer would cause the reaction it did and he had loved it. Until he'd gotten an infinitely painful reminder as to why he should have kept his distance. "Cor, what the bloody hell am I going to tell her?" he asked the reflectionless mirror.

Buffy watched from the couch as Spike came out of the bathroom and headed for the kitchen, a slight frown marring her brow. She had decided to wait for an explanation, rather than asking flat-out what had happened. She hoped it wasn't because he'd been disgusted by the kiss, because she had thoroughly enjoyed it. So much, in fact, that she wondered if he'd be as good of a lover as he was a kisser.

"Thanks," she said, accepting the bowl of chocolate ice cream from him when he returned to the sitting area. He nodded and sat down beside her, his own dish of ice cream in his hand. "So, I, uh, chose a movie."

"You don't have to beat around the bush, luv," Spike said, eating a spoonful of ice cream. The cold felt wonderful and he ran the ice cream along his gums with his tongue before swallowing.

"Good, because this patience thing is over-rated," Buffy replied. "What happened?"

"I bit my tongue," he lied. She stared at him incredulously, to which he answered with a wry look of his own. "I told you I failed that quiz."

"That's all?" she asked. "You bit your tongue?"

"Hey, it hurt," he said, which was the truth.

"I know it hurts, I've done it before," Buffy said. She took a bite of her own ice cream, not looking him as she added, "I'm just glad it wasn't because you were grossed out or something."

Spike gave her an astonished look. "Fuck, no," he told her. "That was the best kiss I've had in a bloody long time."

Buffy blushed at the compliment, happiness spreading through her. "Well, good. It...kinda was for me, too. Although I seem to have a habit of causing vampires to go game face when they first kiss me."

"And just how many vampires have you kissed, Slayer?" Spike asked, a teasing note in his voice.

"Wouldn't you like to know," she teased right back.

Spike chuckled, glad that he managed to gloss over what happened with a single lie. Next time he kissed her -- and he knew there would be a next time, considering Angel would be in town the next night - he'd make sure he stayed in control. "What video did you pick?" he asked, setting the ice cream on his knee in order to light up a cigarette from the pack on the end table.

"The Cutting Edge," Buffy replied, picking up the remote off of the coffee table. "I haven't seen it before...well, I haven't seen very many movies at all. That whole slaying thing gets in the way of quality vegging time."

"You're more than welcome to come over and watch my collection anytime you'd like, pet," Spike said, then ducked his head in embarrassment. The Slayer seemed to have a knack for making him do things completely out of character for him.

Buffy smiled with pleasure. "I may just take you up on that offer, Mister."

The cat came bounding out of the small hallway at the same time Buffy turned on the movie. He leapt up on the back of the love-seat and walked over to the arm. Once there, he sat down and stared at Spike's ice cream dish on the vampire's knee.

"Forget it," Spike said, exhaling smoke at the cat. The feline meowed at him and he scowled. "This is my ice cream. Get your own."

"Spike, I don't think he can reach the freezer door," Buffy said, giggling. "And it would be hard for him to wrap his paws around the ice cream scoop."

"But he sure as hell would give it go," he said.

"What's his name, anyway?" she asked. "You never did tell me."

"He doesn't have one," Spike told her. She arched her brow in question. "He's deaf, so it wouldn't do me any good to call him."

"But he still should have a name," she told him.

"Then name him," he said. "Nothing nancyish, like Waldo or Edwin or..."

"William?" Buffy supplied with a straight face. He glared at her and she giggled.

"Good thing the picture's staring, Slayer," he growled. "Or you'd be wearing that ice cream."

"I look better in strawberry," she told him with a devilish smile. Then she turned her attention to the movie.

Spike had no trouble picturing what she'd look like with a little ice cream smeared on her. He also had no trouble picturing himself licking the ice cream off of her. He turned his head away from the Slayer and saw the cat still staring at him. "What are you lookin' at?" he groused.

He could swear the cat gave him a knowing smile.

*****



"'...We don't even like each other. We fight all the time.'"

"'Foreplay.'"

Buffy and Spike looked away from the screen and at each other simultaneously. The Slayer started to blush, telling Spike she was thinking the exact same thing he was thinking. "And all this time, I thought it was because I hated you, luv," he said, a mischievous smile playing across his lips.

"This is a movie," Buffy said, gesturing to the television. "What do they know?"

"You're telling me, after all this time we spent fighting, you never once wondered..."

"No!" she interrupted, then blushed even brighter red.

Spike leaned over and whispered in her ear, "Liar."

"Yeah? Well...you? What about you, Mr. Swaggering, Thinks-He's-Hot-Stuff?" she said, going on the offensive because she was embarrassed of her reaction. "You probably think foreplay is only fighting and bloodshed."

"Is that an invitation to prove you wrong, Slayer?" Spike said in a low voice, his eyes piercing hers. Everything inside of him was screaming to move away from the subject, but he didn't care. As futile as it was, he wanted to know if she desired him as much as he desired her.

Arousal flared inside of her, and despite the fact that things were moving too fast between them, she couldn't help but answer, "Yes."

Spike froze. He hadn't expected the simple answer, or her breathy voice that told him she really wanted him. He thought she'd joke it off, even if she did desire him in return. A coil of fire started to burn in the middle of his chest, threatening to consume him. He couldn't even kiss her without losing control, how did he think he would be able to do anything else to bring her pleasure?

He told the voices in his head to shut up, leaned towards her and kissed her. He was prepared this time for the tactile sensations that came with the action. Their intensity did not dim and he felt himself being pulled in by her taste and her scent and her softness. A low rumble emanated from him as he fought to keep his demon at bay, but he still did not stop kissing her. He never wanted to stop.

The feel of his cool lips upon hers was enough to make Buffy tremble. Her hands had gone up around his shoulders when he initiated the kiss. They were awkwardly turned towards one another on the couch, but she didn't care. All she cared about was the feel of his tongue sweeping against hers, the firmness of his lips, the taste of chocolate ice cream and tobacco and him.

She heard a low growling coming from him and it sent tendrils of excitement through her system. She stroked the nape of his neck with one hand, her fingers going up to catch the back of his soft hair before sliding back down his skin. She wanted to be closer to him, wanted to press her body against his, to feel the muscles that lay under his clothing with her hands.

However, it was not to be. Spike slowly pulled away from her and she opened her eyes to meet his gaze questioningly. He reached up and brushed her lower lip with the pad of his thumb, following the movement with his own eyes. "You are such a wonderful woman, Slayer," he said softly. "You deserve much more than I am able to give you."

His words confused Buffy and she went to ask what he meant, but he leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss to her lips before she could. Then he turned and settled her against him to watch the remainder of the movie, and she did not bring up the question again.



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