Secrets & Lies


by: Lynn
Continuation of The Chains Series


    As dawn broke through the apartment window, Giles put down his pen and
stared blearily at the translated pages before him.

It was finished, all of it.

  Every page revealed, every last word known...and not a bit of it was of
any help to him.  His first impulse was to destroy the lot of it, throw the
journals and their translations into the fire and be done with it all.  And
then reason stepped in, scolding him as usual - *Ever the child, Ripper* -
and all he could do was shove the offending pages away and stare at them
broodingly.

And wonder what to do next.

Showing them to Buffy and Willow was out of the question.  Neither girl
needed any more stress in her life at this point in time, and since the
journals hadn't given him the answers he sought, there was no reason to
inflict the books' conclusions on them.  He sighed and removed his glasses,
rubbing his face with his hands.  How ironic, that after blowing up at Buffy
for keeping secrets, he was about to do the exact same thing.  But then, the
life of a Watcher was often filled with lies and hypocrisy, a fact that the
pages in front of him only seemed to hammer home with great force.

If only Damien would contact him.  Giles had left several messages all over
the globe, even going so far as to call Meredith again to see if she had
heard from him.  She hadn't, but promised to pass along the information
should Damien turn up.  Now, all that was left was the waiting.

And the worrying.

Slowly, he pushed away from the table and stood, gathering the translated
pages together.  Knowing what they contained - and what he was about to do -
made him feel sad, angry...dirty.  But there was no way he was going to
subject Buffy to the truth, not while she was still struggling to get her
strength back.  He needed her focused, and he needed his Slayer back, and in
this case knowledge would only hurt his cause, not help it.

His eyes roamed over the bookshelves, finally settling on a title that
sounded boring even to him.  He pulled the book out and placed the journal
translations inside, then returned it to the shelf, feeling fairly certain
that no one would stumble upon it by accident.  When the time was right,
when the girls were feeling more...stable...then he'd show them what he'd
found.

With a heavy sigh, and feeling far older than his years, Giles turned from
the bookshelf and headed upstairs, desperate for a shower and several hours
of undisturbed sleep.

And thirty minutes later, he realized that no amount of soap or scalding
water could make him feel clean again.  And undisturbed sleep proved to be
an elusive thing, at best.

******************


"Use your legs," Giles called out from across the room, "they need
conditioning."

Buffy nodded and crouched down low before leaping back up into a perfectly
timed kick that took the practice dummy's head clean off.  Grinning from ear
to ear, she turned to face Giles, only to find him scowling back at her.
"What now?" she asked exasperatedly, returning his scowl with one of her
own.

"Nothing, as long as the vampire stands perfectly still and waits for you
to attack."

"Giles-"

"Your responses need to be lightning fast - no excuses!  By now word has
most likely leaked out about your...incapacitation...and we *must* be ready
for whatever comes along to challenge you!"

Buffy grabbed a nearby towel and wiped the sweat off her face.  "Don't you
think I know that?  I *am* getting stronger, I can feel it.  The speed will
come, don't worry."

"Don't worry, she says," he muttered, scooping the dummy's head from the
floor. Straightening up, he faced her with a deadly serious look in his
eyes. "Buffy, we don't have the luxury of time.  Each day brings you further
along in your -" he cut himself off, unable to say the word.  "We have to
get you back in fighting form before *your* form changes.  And the forces of
darkness will not step back and take a breather just because we're not
ready!"

Her face softened, and she took a step toward him.  "Giles, I do understand
all of that.  And I know that you're worried about me.  All I can tell you
is that I'm trying my best and that nothing is going to stand in the way of
me doing my job.  Not even being pregnant."

"All right, then," he nodded briskly, "get back to work.  And this time,
make every move so fast that I can't even see it."

Her ponytail bobbed as she gave him a smartass salute and then she was
flying through different combat moves, a deadly blur in motion.  Giles
sighed and cautioned himself against being too obvious in his concern for
her.  If he overdid it, then she would start questioning just what had him
so worked up, and there was no way he could possibly explain the mounting
feeling that time was running out for all of them.

It had been four days since he'd translated the journals, and he considered
himself lucky that neither Buffy nor Willow had mentioned them.  Buffy's
lack of interest came from her preoccupation with Spike, and as much as it
made Giles ill to think of the vampire touching her, he was nonetheless
grateful for the distraction.

Willow had become withdrawn again, as if she'd only had enough energy for a
brief respite from the pain.  It made him feel helpless, and only served to
reinforce the guilt he still carried from their night together.  The pang of
longing he felt in her presence didn't help the situation any, either.  His
life was a mess, and if he couldn't help himself, how could he possibly help
those around him?

The sound of his name brought him out of the brooding spell.  "Yes...er,
what?"

Buffy was staring at him, trying to catch her breath.  "What's with you
today, Giles?  One minute you're all over my ass, the next you're a million
miles away.  Is there something I should know about?"

"N-No, of course not.  I just feel so damn helpless, sitting here waiting
for Damien to call.  And I have to admit that I'm worried about Willow.
Have you talked to her?"

"This morning." Buffy grabbed a towel and wiped her face.  "She sounded
better, but still a little distant.  I had hoped...she seemed so *strong* a
few days ago, and now it's like Oz died all over again."  Her eyes were
troubled.  "I know what you mean about feeling helpless.  It sucks."

"I couldn't agree more."

He began gathering up the equipment while Buffy drank from her water
bottle, both of them lost in thought until she broke the silence.  "I think
I'm ready to patrol again."

Giles stopped suddenly and turned.  "Really?  You've only been training for
a couple of days."

"I know," she shrugged, "but I have to start again sometime.  I can't sit
around waiting for something to happen, and I can't let you and Xander
continue to do my job.  I need to get back out there."

"And you think you're strong enough to handle whatever comes along?  You
were out of commission for a long time."

"I'm feeling better, Giles.  Well enough to stake a vampire or two, anyway.
Besides, the numbers are still down, right?  I'll start patrolling tomorrow
night."

"All right, as long as you're sure."  He started to say something, then
stopped, as if he'd changed his mind.  "I'll finish cleaning up here...why
don't you head on home?  If I hear from Damien, I'll call you."

"Okay.  If I'm not at home, I'll be at the mansion."

Giles gritted his teeth, fighting off the images that automatically invaded
his head.  She's going over there to play gin rummy, he told himself as his
hands tightened around a fighting staff.  Teeth clenched, he bit out a
"Goodbye" and watched as Buffy grabbed her duffle bag and practically
skipped out the door.

The library door had barely closed when he whirled and slammed the staff
into the training dummy with enough force to snap the stick in two.  And as
he stood there, breathing heavily from anger and exertion, his only regret
at the childish display of violence was that Spike hadn't been on the
receiving end.


*******************


Buffy lay in Spike's arms, flushed and drowsy, her left leg slung
comfortably over his.  It had been a long day and she was exhausted, both
from the training session earlier and the strenuous lovemaking a few moments
ago.  And she'd never felt more blissful in her life.

In just four short days, everything had turned around.  Her appetite had
returned with a vengeance, and now that there was food in her stomach, her
strength was increasing at a rapid pace.  The face that stared back at her
in the mirror was no longer frightening, and she could almost swear that it
held a sort of...glow.  Physically, she felt like her old self, with a
little something extra thrown into the mix.  In that respect, everything was
just fine.

With Giles, though...  Giles still seemed distant.  Buffy supposed she
couldn't blame him after everything that had happened, but it still hurt.
Perhaps when she started her slaying routine again, he'd come around.  After
all, he couldn't stay mad forever.

Spike nudged her.  "You're awfully deep in thought.  Or did I render you
unconscious?"

"Not quite," she answered drily.  "Blondes *are* capable of deep thought
now and then, you know."

"Yeah, right," he snorted.  "Pull the other one."
With a smirk, Buffy let her hand drift lazily over his stomach, across his
hip, and down one thigh, finally coming to rest on his spent cock.  She
wrapped her fingers around him and gave a gentle tug.  "Pull what?" she
asked with a grin.

Spike felt himself twitch, and groaned.  "Christ, you're insatiable.
Vampire or not, I *am* old, luv.  I need my rest."

"Liar," she retorted as she felt him swell under her hand.  She stroked him
for a moment, laughing at his automatice response.  Before he could roll on
top of her, she stopped, laughing again as he growled in frustration.
"Don't worry, I was only teasing.  I wouldn't dream of disturbing your
'rest'."

"Witch."

"Oooh, points for using a "w" instead of a "b".  He pinched her, and she
squealed, swatting him back hard enough to leave a mark on his pale skin.
"Ow!  Bastard."

  In self-defense, he rolled her, pinning her to the bed.  "Violence will
get you everywhere, pet," he murmured, nuzzling her neck until she was
writhing helplessly beneath him.

"S-Stop, Spike, please," she whimpered.

"Stop?  Really?  That's a new one," he chuckled in her ear.  "You mean you
don't want me to do this?"  He slid two fingers into her and slowly stroked
them back and forth, manipulating her clitoris with his thumb.  Her back
arched and he smiled at the flush that traveled across her skin.  "God, I
love watching you," he murmured. She was so responsive; he found it easy to
read her body, to make it dance under him as if she had been created for
exactly that purpose.

And easier still to make her lose all sense of time and place.  "Dooon't,"
she moaned, then gave a frustrated cry when he paused.  "Don't stop, please
don't stop..."

Her babbling made him grin and pick up the pace.  "Wouldn't dream of
stopping, love," he whispered against her skin.  His mouth moved over her
throat, sucking lightly, feeling the pulse throb against his tongue.  Salty
and fragrant, her taste and scent were heady enough to make his head swim,
almost enough to make him forget himself and take a bite.  His tongue
followed a drop of sweat into the hollow between her breasts before sweeping
up to capture the pert nipple that begged for attention.

Buffy's body grew taut like a bowstring, her hands twisting in his hair,
urging him to suck harder, rub harder, please, please, please...

A sharp tug with his teeth and she was hurtling over the edge, crying out
his name as she went.  Her nerve endings were still sensitive from her
previous orgasms, twitchy, even, making the pleasure seem frightfully close
to pain, but Spike didn't back off.  Instead, he kept on kissing and
touching her lightly until she gradually came down in a breathless, boneless
heap on the bed.

"I can't...move," Buffy managed squeak out, "I-I...think...I...died."
Spike's smile was wide and full of conceit as he stared down at her.  "I've
always believed that the only job worth doing was a job worth doing well."
He lay back against the pillows and pulled her close.

Her nose wrinkled in distaste as she peered up at him.  "Okay, *stop* -
that sounded a little too much like Giles for comfort."

"Now, there's a frightening thought.  How is the Tweedy One, anyway?  Still
got a stake with my name on it?"

"Probably.  He still seems kind of angry, although he hasn't come right out
and said anything.  Mostly, he just acts British and broods a lot."  She
snuggled against him, breathing in his familiar scent.  God, she'd missed
him so much.  Sometimes being together still felt a little unreal, like a
dream.  Every once in awhile she pinched herself, just to be sure it wasn't.
"I think Giles will thaw out once I start with the slaying again.  I'm sure
it'll be a relief to have things back to normal, at least in one sense."

For a second, Spike didn't register what she was saying.  Then it sunk in.
"You're thinking of going back on patrol?"  It took every ounce of control
to keep his muscles from tensing up at the thought of her putting herself in
danger again.  "When?"

"Tomorrow night."

Struggling to keep his voice casual, he said, "Are you sure that's wise,
pet?  You've only been back in training for a few days."

Buffy yawned, exhaustion finally catching up with her.  "It'll be fine.
I'm getting stronger every day, and I need to get back out there.  If I wait
any longer, word will leak out and I'll have chaos on my hands when every
Tom, Dick and Demon shows up to challenge me."  She squirmed for a second,
trying to get comfortable.  "Sleep now, okay?  I'm dead tired - we can talk
about it later."

"Buffy -"

Preparing for some kind of macho argument, she raised up to look him in the
eye, and her face softened at the concern she saw there.  Her hand reached
up to touch his cheek.  "I'm the Slayer, Spike.  It's not only my job, it's
who I am...it's in my blood.  I don't know what will happen when I'm further
along, but for now, I have to keep Sunnydale safe.  Or at least try to.
Understood?"

He stared at her for a moment, then nodded, giving her a quick, hard kiss.
"Understood."  But I bloody well don't have to like it, he thought to
himself.

Buffy gave him a luminous smile, then settled back down beside him.  Spike
began threading his fingers through her hair, something he usually did to
help her wind down.  She sighed, burrowing against him contentedly.  "Don't
forget to wake me up later."

"I won't, baby.  Just go to sleep."

"Mmmm, sleep," she murmured.  "Sleep is good."

Buffy's breathing grew deep and even, and Spike wished that he could drop
off just as easily, but it was still night, and now he had a new worry to
contend with.  The Slayer being back in business so soon was something he
hadn't bargained on.  He'd only just gotten her back, and he'd be damned if
he was going to lose her to some fledgling vampire or transient demon.
Hell, he was damned anyway, but there had to be something he could do about
this, some way to stop her without driving her away again.  He lay there
listening to the beat of her heart, feeling her breath on his skin, and
realized that there was only one course of action that would allow him to
keep her safe.

And unfortunately, that course of action led to the one person he'd rather
not face.


Continued