Secrets & Lies


by: Lynn
Continuation of The Chains Series



Buffy walked slowly toward the library, trying to delay the inevitable. Her sneaker scuffed the floor, its loud squeak echoing in the silent hallway. The school was deserted, it being Saturday and who in their right mind would be in school on the weekend, anyway? Well, she would, for one. And Giles, of course, because he practically lived there.

She slowed her pace some more and thought about what she would say to him. Definitely not the truth. It just wouldn't fly, not with Giles. *I mean, what can I say- Angel and Drusilla are dead because Spike and I provoked them by having sex in the cemetery...oh yeah, and after they were dead we went back to my house and humped like insane bunnies until dawn?* No, the truth just wouldn't do. She ran her story through her head one last time and pushed open the library doors.

"Hey, Giles." Her greeting was quiet, lacking the usual exuberant wisecracks that she reserved just for him.

Giles was bent over the counter, his nose in a book, as usual. He looked up at the sound of her approach, eyes softening as soon as he saw who it was. She was dressed in baggy sweats- her comfort clothes, she called them. Her hair was loose around her face, which was freshly scrubbed and make-up free. Giles wondered what could have happened the night before, to make her leave the house looking that way. Even when she trained, she usually wore something trendy and form fitting. There had to be something dreadfully wrong.

"Buffy, you're here...good." He smiled at her tentatively, knowing that she would have to tell him about last night in her own good time. He pulled off his glasses and rubbed his eye with the heel of his hand. "I've been researching the curse again... trying to translate the text properly. Romany isn't really my forte- there are certain inflections in the pronunciation that are necessary for the spell to work. I- I know Jenny wanted Angel to get his soul back, but I just don't think I can pull it off."

"It doesn't matter anymore, Giles. Angel's not going to need his soul where he is." She looked up at him with eyes that were dark and sorrow-filled. *Dear God, she finally did it* He waited for her to continue, holding his breath, not daring to hope.

"Angel and Drusilla are both dead. I killed them." She looked away as she said it, her voice detached. She felt as though someone else were speaking the words...someone far away from her.

"How did it happen? How were you able to defeat them both?" He spoke gently, moving closer, but not touching her, not yet.

"I ran into Angel at the cemetery. He started in on me, saying such horrible things. Telling me that he and Drusilla...he went into details, disgusting details...and I-I just snapped. He wasn't Angel anymore, he didn't even resemble him. I didn't even think, I just sprayed him with the holy water and while he was blinded, I ...I staked him."

Giles looked at her in shock. He'd never thought that she'd be able to do it. Buffy almost believed that the story she told was true- preferred to believe it, that she killed him in a fit of jealous rage rather than plotted with her enemy to assassinate him.

"And Drusilla?" Giles blinked at her, his eyes wide as he thought about how difficult it must have been for her.

"I heard a scream as Angel exploded. I turned around and there was Drusilla, coming at me. I don't think she even knew what she was doing, she was just reacting. I threw up my hand and she ran right into the stake that I was holding. It all happened so fast, Giles. One minute they were there and the next...they were gone. I just didn't want to talk to anyone, so I went home and crawled into bed." The tears had started again, she didn't know if they were from grief, or from shame at having lied to Giles.

Giles pulled Buffy into his arms, his heart breaking for her. The Ripper was rejoicing inside him, ecstatic that Angel was dead. He was also a little pissed at not having been the one to do the deed. Giles told Ripper to go away and turned his attention back to Buffy.

She was clinging to his jacket, sobbing; he could feel her tears soaking his shirt. He rubbed his cheek against her hair in a comforting gesture, loving the clean smell of her. His love for her was the purest thing he had ever known- the closest to parental love that he would ever experience. Now that Jenny was gone, he couldn't see himself settling down and having a family. Buffy was all the family that he needed.

Buffy was in agony, crying for Angel, for Spike...for herself. It was killing her to lie to Giles; bad things always happened when she did that. What if a giant demon snake was mild compared to what would happen this time?

No, it was too late. She had been keeping secrets for over a month, she couldn't just spill everything now. And she could 'never' explain Spike. 'She' didn't understand it, how would Giles? She was the one who had actually killed Angel and Drusilla, that much was the truth, at least. The Spike situation was something too complicated to even contemplate.

Buffy burrowed into Giles' chest, feeling his arms tighten around her. It felt wonderful, like being a small child again. Like when things were simple- scraped knees and broken dolls. She used to cling to her father like this, but now he was too far away and wouldn't understand even if he was here. She missed her father, but the bond she shared with Giles was different. Sometimes it felt as though they were linked by an invisible thread, each one feeling a tug when the other was hurt or confused.

They both still had secrets from each other. She knew that there were things in his past that he hadn't revealed, and probably never would. It didn't matter, though. Emotionally, they were always on the same page. They were two halves of the same coin, Watcher and Slayer, Yin and Yang. A perfect balance.

Giles could sense that there was something more, something that she wasn't telling him. She had been cagey for over a month now, coming to him numerous times, only to walk away without saying a word. He knew that she felt guilty about Jenny, about not killing Angel in time to save her, but he suspected that there was another problem.

Her sexual experience with Angel had unnerved her, understandably so. Buffy had been embarrassed about losing her virginity, as though she thought he would think less of her for giving in to her desire. *Good God, if she only knew!* Her one little foray into the realm of carnal pleasure couldn't hold a candle to his sordid past. Eyghon had been the least of it. His obsession with Ethan and the black arts had lead him down a path that was best kept hidden. He shook off his dark memories and pressed his lips to Buffy's hair, so softly that she wouldn't even know he had done it.

Reluctantly, Buffy pulled out of Giles' embrace, brushing the last of her tears away. She gave him a small half-smile and ran her fingers through her hair. "Thanks, I needed that."

She moved away from him, running her hand over the books on the counter. They were all about Romany curses- useless now. She hoped that Jenny would be able to rest in peace now that her murderer was in hell. As much as she felt heartbroken over the way Angel had died, a part of her was glad to have destroyed him for Giles. She had owed him that.

"Buffy...if you need to talk about this, I know how hard this must have been for you. You loved him, a part of you always will." He wasn't sure what to say to her, how to help her.

"I'm okay, Giles, really. I killed Angelus, it wasn't the same person. Angel was already gone." She decided to hang on to her denial for a little longer. Some people did it for years, what were a few days? Besides, she had other stuff to deal with.

She had been neglecting her slaying duties for the past week; there must be tons of vampires, just waiting to be taken out. It would feel good to stake faceless, nameless vamps. Just another day at the office. She'd become a workaholic...that's what people usually did when they couldn't deal with personal issues, right? It sounded good to her.

"Buffy, why don't you take a few days off..."

"NO! No, I want to work, I need it. I'll be all right. I just need to deal and move on. Piece of cake."

Her face had closed down; she was shutting him out again. He cursed his male genes- maybe if she had a female Watcher, then she would open up more. Giles felt a stab of fear at the thought of giving her up to someone else. No, she was HIS Slayer; he'd stay with her until death parted them. Otherwise, it would be like cutting out his own heart. *Enough of this, Rupert, you bloody imbecile. Neither one of you is going anywhere, not today, anyway.*

"Are you up for some training, then? You're certainly dressed the part." Deal and move on. It was all they could do for the moment.

"Definitely up for some major trainage. You get the weapons, I'll get the music." She ran to get her bag that she kept in the library.

"None of that blasted, thumping racket. I have a Bay City Rollers CD in my desk."

"No way, Giles! Get with the twentieth century already."

Things were starting to feel normal again. For a little while, anyway. Come nightfall, she'd have to find Spike and tell him her edited version of last night's events. They had to keep their stories straight, after all. He couldn't afford to have the vampire community know the truth any more than she could afford to have the Scooby Gang know. They just had to compare notes. Nothing more. *Yeah right, Summers, tell me another one.* She shrugged her conscience off and went to work out her frustration the old fashioned way- with weapons.


***********


Spike tore through the mess in his room, looking for something to wear. He ran his hand through his still damp hair and cast desperate glances at every corner. *There!* He spotted the black t- shirt peaking out from beneath the overturned dresser. Spike quickly snatched the shirt off of the floor and threw it on, tucking it into his jeans.

It was time to inform the fledglings that there was a new sheriff in town. There were only a couple of older vamps in Sunnydale, they would probably be stopping by as well. They were younger than him, so he wasn't that concerned about being challenged. Even if they did have delusions of grandeur, he could take them.

He had slept well, six hours worth- a record for him. His pulse was jumping, he was hungry and he wanted to see the Slayer again. The Slayer. He understood now why Angel had refused to give her up. She was bloody fucking incredible- all heat and fire, soft and strong at the same time. What the fuck was he going to do?

If anyone found out that he'd conspired with the Slayer to assassinate Angelus, he'd be a dead man. For real, this time. The community would find someone strong enough to take him out. Killing your Sire was a big no-no; the only reason Angel had gotten away with Darla was because he was an outsider at the time. Spike didn't have the luxury of blaming it on a soul. He had to make sure the Slayer didn't tell anyone about what had really happened. *And you're hoping for a repeat of last night, you fucking wanker.*

Spike left his room and sauntered down the stairs, glad that he didn't have use that blasted elevator anymore. On the way down, he tried to banish the Slayer from his thoughts. It wouldn't do to face the minions with a raging hard-on. He concentrated on playing it cool, getting into his 'don't fuck with me' mode.

Reaching the first floor, he looked into the main room and saw about six vamps, hanging out and looking lost. *They couldn't scratch their asses without someone to show them how it's done. Do I really want to be in charge of these losers? Hell, yes- at least I can order them around, make them do stupid shit to keep myself amused.* Spike cleared his throat and they all looked up, shocked to see him standing there.

"Spike, you can walk!" One of the younger vamps blurted out.

"Really? Well, what do you know, yes I can." Spike rolled his eyes at the inane remark and walked over to the table, picking up the newspaper. He glanced at the headlines (as if he really cared), then looked up at the oldest of the group, Darius. Spike didn't trust him; he was the one most likely to cause trouble. Darius was staring at Spike, a hostile look on his face.

"Yes Darius, what is it? You're going to make me blush if you keep staring at me like that." Spike knew that Darius was homophobic, any reference to male affection irked the shit out of him.

"Quite a miraculous recovery, Spike. You surprise me." Darius was trying to be cool, but he just couldn't pull it off. Spike got a kick out of needling uptight people, vamps and humans alike.

"Yeah, well, I try to live right, you know. Eat three squares, exercise, say my prayers at bedtime. Healthy mind, healthy body and all that. You should try it." Oh, it was good to be back. He could feel the juices flowing. He couldn't wait to feed, to feel the thrill of the chase. It had been far too long.

"What do Angelus and Drusilla have to say about your...condition?"

*Okay, mate- here goes nothin'.* "They don't know yet... I haven't seen them. Angel said something about them heading out of town to hunt last night. I have no idea when they'll be back."

Darius looked at him suspiciously. Spike just stared back at him, poker faced. He had gambled his way across Europe a hundred years ago and no one could ever tell if he was bluffing. Darius was like a dog with a bone sometimes, though. He would have to be careful not to let his guard down.

"I'll be calling the shots as long as they're gone. If everyone stays out of my way, we'll get along fine. Now, I'm going hunting. It's been a long time since I've had a fresh kill." He looked over at Acathla, still sitting in the corner. "Someone cover up that hideous rock while I'm gone, would you?"

Spike turned and left the room, looking as though he didn't have a care in the world. Once outside, he relaxed somewhat. The Slayer invaded his mind again, her image implanting itself in his brain. He groaned softly, the reality of his dilemma striking him full force.

Just the thought of her started a craving similar to that of a junkie looking for a fix. He wanted to feel her soft skin, taste her juices, plunge into her moist heat. He didn't care who or what she was- he just knew that he couldn't give up the rush that he got when he was with her. He'd always been a sucker for danger- hell, he practically mainlined it. The fact that she was the Slayer *Okay, insane I know, but Christ! You just don't pass up a chance at pussy this sweet. Not if you have any balls at all.* Angel had fucked it up big time; he could have had the whole package. Too bad he'd been a raving nutter. Oh well, his loss was Spike's incredible gain.

Spike grinned into the dark. He'd find a way to have the Slayer 'and' control of Sunnydale. He didn't want to mess with the Hellmouth itself. People who tried to control 'that' little piece of real estate alway ended up blowing in the wind. *Bob Dylan, where the fuck has he been? All they show on MTV is that nancy boy of his, singing about one blasted headlight.* He couldn't stand that video. He had thrown the television out the window the last time it had come on. Then he had to go steal another one. He could have bought it, but he had been hungry anyway and the store had just been about to close. Why waste all that money on something he could get for free?

He was rambling all over the place, flying off into tangents. It happened, sometimes. He'd have trouble focusing, one idea leading to another, until he forgot exactly where he had started from. *Now, focus, Daniel-san. What was I thinking before I started going off on Dylan? Oh yeah, the Hellmouth.*

Everyone thought they could control its power, become something other than what they were. He had no such aspirations. They were fools, thinking they could harness power like that. Look where it got them. No, he was content just to have a good time- feed on the local yokels, shag the Slayer every chance he got, stir up a little trouble now and then. He could have a full and satisfying undead life. Starting with some dinner.

Spike sniffed the air for prey, heading toward the mall with a bounce in his step. Lots of Happy Meals there- friendly service, no waiting. And after dinner, he'd look for the Slayer- see what popped up. Spike walked off into the night, whistling "Tangled up in Blue". Yeah, undead life was pretty good.

Buffy walked through the playground, kicking at the pea gravel under the swings. She had patrolled through most of the town already, staking three vamps that were hanging out at the Bronze. *You'd think that they'd learn not to hunt there.* It was like shooting fish in a barrell. Spike was right, they just got dumber and dumber.

Buffy supposed she should feel grateful that there weren't many of the older, more experienced vampires around, but actually, she longed for the challenge. It just wasn't any fun if they didn't fight back. She wanted to work up a sweat when she fought, needed to immerse herself in a really good battle. It would figure, that all she'd come across were fledglings that barely knew how to hunt, much less take on a Slayer.

Buffy missed the shot of adrenalin she used to get when fighting with Spike. He could go round after round without tiring, always drawing it out as if he didn't want their contact to end. The double entendre struck her suddenly and heat suffused her body. She wondered where Spike was; she hadn't run into him on any of her rounds. It was still early, though. Buffy had a feeling that he would show, sooner or later.

She grabbed the bar on the merry-go-round and pushed, sending it spinning. It used to be her favorite thing in the playground where she grew up. She would spend hours whirling in circles, almost to the point of nausea. Then she would ride out the dizziness, lying on the ground and letting the the world spin around her. She almost got that same feeling when she was with Spike- out of control and dizzy, but not wanting the ride to end.

Buffy passed the jungle gym and stiffened. Her spider sense was tingling and she wasn't alone anymore. She felt the presence behind her and swung around suddenly, catching the vampire in the face with a powerful punch. His head snapped back from the force, almost knocking him off of his feet. Buffy tossed her hair out of her eyes and stood in ready stance, waiting for the attack.

Spike stood there with his head down, rubbing his jaw. Buffy looked at him in surprise, wondering if she was going to get that fight that she had been looking for. He raised his head and gazed back at her with glittering eyes, not saying a word. She expected him to be angry at her for hitting him, but the expression on his face had nothing to do with anger. His cheeks were flushed and his eyes were glassy- as if stoned, which meant that he had just fed. *Shit!* She didn't want to think about how that made her feel, to know that he had killed before coming to her.

He kept staring at her, his eyes burning with a different kind of hunger and her body responded with an answering heat low in her belly. Spike's hand shot out and grabbed her arm, jerking her toward him. Out of reflex, her other arm came up to strike, but he blocked it easily, pinning it down. She struggled for a moment, not wanting to give in just yet, needing to fight him a little.

The blood was rushing through her veins and she could feel his power washing over her, leaving little prickles all over her skin. The electricity that they generated every time that they were together crackled, the sparks almost visible. Spike snarled, gripping her tighter and pulling her up against his hard frame. Buffy's body arched toward his; she could feel her nipples harden as they met his chest.

Their mouths met in a bruising kiss and Buffy grabbed his t-shirt, clutching it like a lifeline. His tongue was licking the inside of her mouth, and her knees almost buckled from the sensation. He kissed his way to her ear, nipping and sucking, before trailing down her neck. Spike let go of her arms to slide one hand to her back, the other slipping up her shirt.

Buffy moaned and pressed herself closer to him. She had to feel him, all of him. His thumb was rubbing against her nipple as his hand cupped her breast. How could he do this to her so easily? What was it about him that made her body respond the way it did? At the moment, she didn't care. All she cared about was the blinding hunger, a hunger to taste and feel every inch of him. Spike's other hand was slipping down the back of her pants, his mouth still nuzzling at the pulse in her neck. Somehow, one rational thought pierced the fog in her brain.

"Spike?" she whispered breathlessly, trying to fight the pleasure coursing through her body.

"Hmmm?" He didn't stop, just kept on touching, kissing, driving her insane.

"What if someone sees us?"

The question penetrated his lust addled brain and he broke away from her, looking around desperately. *Gotta be somewhere we can go...* He spotted the treehouse at the edge of the playground, only a few feet off the ground.

"Come on, then." He dragged her by the hand, almost running. Buffy laughed at his eagerness, turned on by the fact that he couldn't wait to be with her.

He's bringing sweet salvation
let temptation take him in
He's every fear and every hope
and every single sin
He is the universe,
the love you've been imagining

Spike threw open the door and helped her inside. It was a small room, eight by eight feet, perfect for their needs. There were a couple of forgotten toys in the corner, but otherwise it was empty. Spike sat on the floor and pulled her toward him on her knees. His hand slid through her hair as he brought her head down to his for another kiss, holding her between his legs. She reached down and tugged his t-shirt out of his pants, then pulled it over his head.

Buffy sat back and looked at him, her fingertips caressing his chest. His body was lean, but muscular, the body of a fighter. Her fingers ran over the scars on his torso, the rippled muscles in his stomach. She loved the feel of him- rugged and hard, his power just barely kept in check. Angel's skin had been smooth, soft, like a young boy's. Spike felt like a man- dangerous and exciting. A man who was unbuttoning her shirt and sliding it off of her shoulders. She shivered as the cool air met her skin, her nipples puckering from the cold.

Spike's hands came up to cup her breasts, then slid down her stomach to undo her pants. He leaned forward and caught one of her nipples between his teeth. Buffy gasped at the sensation of pleasure/pain and twined her fingers in his hair. He licked his way down her stomach, and she arched backward, thrusting her groin toward his face.

Spike tugged her pants and underwear down, then buried his face in her crotch, his tongue darting out to taste her wetness. Buffy cried out as his cold tongue probed her, teasing her clitoris. She shifted position, kicking her pants the rest of the way off, then turned her attention to the snap on his jeans. She yanked hard, almost tearing the denim in her eagerness.

Divesting Spike of his clothing, Buffy moved over him, straddling his thighs. She started with his mouth, her tongue searching his while her hands moved restlessly- stroking, scratching, rubbing. She trailed kisses down his chest, sucking and biting at his skin, hard enough to leave marks. Spike lay back and watched her through heavy lidded eyes as she slowly worked her way toward his groin. He was as hard as a rock, her teasing driving him out of his mind. She let her hair brush against his cock, tickling him, and then he felt her tongue replacing the hair.

Buffy began stroking him with her hand, running her tongue around the head of his cock. He groaned as she licked at the vein in his shaft, his hand coming up to bury itself in her hair. Her mouth engulfed him, warm, wet, sucking- her hand still stroking him at the base. She scraped her teeth on his skin and he saw stars, on the verge of coming in her mouth.

Spike grabbed her arm and pulled her up to his chest, kissing her hungrily as Buffy swung her leg over him, grasping his cock and guiding it into her warmth. She moaned as he filled her, bracing herself on his chest with her hands. His hands slid up her thighs to her hips, holding on as she started moving above him.

Spike began thrusting up into her tight sheath, the friction almost more than he could bear. He looked up at her, at the light sheen of sweat covering her body, amazed by the fact that they were together again. She looked like a goddess- her head thrown back, body arching as she strained above him. She had a look of intense pleasure on her face as she rode him, meeting his thrusts and digging her nails into his chest.

Spike felt her heat surrounding him, searing his cold, hard cock. He couldn't imagine living without this; didn't want to think about anything but the ecstasy of being inside her. He lifted his head and took one of her nipples in his mouth, sucking hard, his fangs just breaking the skin. Buffy tumbled over the edge, screaming his name as the waves of her orgasm crashed over her. As her inner walls clamped down on him, Spike roared, his cock pumping jets of cold semen deep inside her.

Buffy tried to catch her breath, her legs shaking from the force of her climax. She looked down at Spike, breathing hard, hair covering her face. He looked relaxed for once, the restlessness having eased somewhat. She marveled at the beauty of his face, those pale blue eyes that seemed to see clear into her soul.

Buffy smiled as she felt his hands moving over her skin, as though he wanted to feel every tremor running through her body. His hand reached up and gently tucked her hair behind her ear, pulling back quickly as if he'd been burned. *Christ, what is she doing to me?* He was Spike, William the fucking Bloody, not some pathetic, pussywhipped sap like Angel had been.

He is the very breath
you feel inside your lungs at night
He is the bitter wind
who's drying up your appetite
He is the darkness
that seeps into your fading light

Spike saw the hurt in her eyes and his expression softened. Pulling her down, he kissed her again, trying to avoid all rational thought. He piled their clothing into a pillow and lay back, settling her against his chest.

Buffy thought about resisting, but her heart wasn't in it. She just wanted him to hold her, to keep reality from intruding into their bizarre little world. Her hand moved lazily over his chest and stomach. She couldn't seem to stop touching him. Under her ear she could hear a faint heartbeat and she looked up at him in surprise.

"It beats for a while after you feed. The blood reanimates it, I guess."

Buffy didn't want to be reminded of his kill, it made her feel guilty for allowing it. She lay her head back down and closed her eyes, thinking about what had just happened. Again.

"Spike, what's happening to us? Why is it like this?"

Spike sighed, tightening his hold on her, afraid of something that he couldn't name. "I don't know, luv. I'm not even sure we should try to figure it out." He hesitated, not wanting to say it, but unable to help himself. "It's never been like this for me. I don't normally have sex with humans." *I'm a fucking idiot, why did I tell her that?*

Buffy looked up again, trying to read his face. Her eyes were huge- luminous, as they stared into his. He was so complex, she didn't know what to do with him. He had too many faces- vicious killer, hyperactive cocky teenager, intense lover, insecure boy- how could she manage him? Did she even want to try? Maybe he was right. They should just go with it, not try to analyze anything. Except that going with it meant giving up control and that was something she didn't like to do. It was her turn to sigh as she struggled with the problem of having a demon for a lover. She decided to concentrate on getting their stories straight.

"I told Giles that I killed Angel in the cemetery. That he provoked me into a jealous rage and I snapped. Drusilla ran into a stake when she came after me for killing Angel. Giles didn't question it. I never mentioned you." The guilt swept over her again as she thought about deceiving Giles.

"Thanks, pet. I'd probably be executed for helping a Slayer to kill my Sire. That sort of thing is not tolerated in the vampire community. Was it hard, lying to your Watcher?" He knew that it had been, she and the Watcher were close. He remembered them together at the Factory, after Angel had killed that teacher. She would have taken Angel out then, if the fire hadn't prevented it.

"It was hard, almost harder than killing Angel. It's one thing to keep something from him, sometimes it's necessary, like now. He wouldn't understand about you and me any more than we understand it ourselves. But to lie right to his face...I felt like pond scum. Next to my mom, he's the most important person in my life."

Spike felt a pang- of what, he didn't know. Maybe because he had never been anyone's most important person. Sure, Drusilla had depended on him, but Angel had mattered more when it got right down to it. *Forget about her, it's fucking over. You've got the Slayer for as long as it lasts. She's warm, she's willing- now don't fuck it up.*

She was so soft, so sweet smelling. He could hear the blood rushing through her veins, feel the beat of her heart against his skin. At that moment, he didn't care that she was the Slayer. If the others found out about them and killed him right then, he could honestly say he'd die happy. He'd move heaven and earth to keep feeling this way, to be able to hold her warm, naked body next to his. They could do this, they could keep it a secret. And it wasn't lying if no one came out and asked directly. Not really. No one would ever suspect that they were involved, why would they? Spike and the Slayer were mortal enemies, everyone knew that.

Buffy's thoughts mirrored his as they lay there in the cool night air. They would keep their secret for as long as they could. She didn't think she could live without this, without his touch. She craved it like a drug. *God, why is this happening to us? Wasn't my life complicated enough? I just killed my last boyfriend, I don't need another demon in my life.* But she did. She needed him in a way that scared her.

And I am ashes, I am Jesus, I am precious,
Could I be your girl

Buffy buried her face in Spike's neck and breathed in his scent. Her pulse quickened, desire returning as she licked at his throat. He moaned and rolled over her, pinning her on top of the clothes. Everything else faded away in the face of their passion. Neither one cared that they couldn't put a name to their feelings. It didn't need to be explained...not yet, anyway. What did explanations matter, when it felt this good, this right? A song lyric floated through Buffy's head as she lost herself in his arms again- *There's only us, there's only this...* Only this, only him. And damn the consequences.

Wash the angels from your head,
won't need them anymore
Hide your heart under the bed
and lock your secret drawer
Love is a demon
and you're the one he's coming for

The duffel bag flew through the window and landed on the floor with a thud. Buffy pulled herself over the windowsill, wincing at the soreness in her thigh muscles. She was tired, so utterly exhausted, that she almost couldn't think straight. Two nights of practically no sleep and muscle- straining contortions were enough to do in even the toughest of Slayers.

All she wanted was a shower and her warm bed. And a night of dreamless sleep. Above all, she wanted the dreamless sleep. She was almost afraid to close her eyes for fear that she'd see Angel. Buffy wasn't sure what would be worse- to dream about the Angel she had loved, or Angelus when she killed him.

The phone rang, causing her to moan dejectedly. She really didn't feel up to talking. But it could be Giles and he always worried if she didn't check in. She flopped onto the bed and picked up the handset

"Lo?" It was an effort just to speak.

"Buffy? Are you okay? I tried to reach you earlier but there was no answer." Willow. She worried almost as much as Giles did.

"Hey, Will. I'm okay. I just got in a little while ago." Buffy hoped that Willow wasn't in a talkative mood. She really needed that shower and some sleep.

"Kinda late for patrolling, isn't it? You're usually home way before now."

Buffy closed her eyes and tried to think quick. Her mind was a blank- big surprise. "Mom's away and I didn't feel like coming home, so I just kept walking. I knew you and Oz had a date, so I didn't bother calling you." There, that was plausible enough.

"Buffy- Giles filled us in about Angel and Drusilla. I'm really sorry. Do you want to come over here? My parents won't mind. I...could listen, if you want to talk."

Willow was such a good friend. Better than she deserved. Buffy could feel the tears getting ready to start again. She'd better end the conversation quick, or Willow would insist on getting together. And it was much easier to lie over the phone than in person.

"No, Willow...thanks anyway. I'm so tired, I just need to get some sleep. And I'm sure your parents 'would' mind a visit this late. We can talk tomorrow, I promise."

"Okay, if you're really sure. I just- I know how hard it must have been for you, that's all. I know how much you loved him." Willow sounded as if she was going to cry, as well. It didn't take much to get her started, she was always so sensitive to everyone's feelings.

"Loved, Will- past tense. I loved Angel. I killed Angelus. I can't stand to think of it any other way. He was just...Angelus." Buffy took a deep breath. "Listen, I really have to go...it's so late. Thanks for caring about me. You're the best friend I've ever had." She had to hang up, she really did.

"I'll always care, Buffy...you know that. Try to get some sleep and call me tomorrow, okay?" Willow still sounded a little worried, but she was relieved that Buffy was all right.

"I will. Goodnight." Buffy hung up the phone and rolled over, forcing herself not to cry. She was so sick of crying and it only ended up giving her a headache, anyway.

Pushing herself to her feet, she crossed the room to stand in front of the mirror. The person staring back was almost a stranger- hair a tangled mess, purple shadows under her eyes. Her lips were swollen from kissing, her cheeks reddened from rubbing against Spike's body hair. She pulled her shirt over her head and tossed it on the floor.

There were hickeys on her neck, a bite mark on her right breast, and bruises up and down her body. She offered a prayer of thanks for her Slayer healing powers- by tomorrow, hopefully, all evidence of her rendezvous with Spike would be gone. Until the next time, at least. She knew now that there 'would' be a next time.

Buffy gazed at the bruises, thinking about the marks that Spike would also have, and about the way that she had inflicted them. *God, if he'd been human, I'd have really hurt him. What could have possessed me to act that way?* But she knew. He had killed tonight and she had welcomed him with open arms. Buffy had suddenly felt so helpless that she had to strike out at him, to punish him for who he was.

She didn't know how she was going to resolve this issue. She couldn't kill him and apparently she couldn't stay away from him either. The eyes in the mirror stared back at her, pleading for solutions to the problems that plagued her. But there were no answers, only questions. Buffy sighed, and headed for the shower, determined to wash away the mess that was now her life.


Continued