Secrets & Lies

by: Lynn
Continuation of The Chains Series

Willow wandered around the living room for a minute before remembering that she had left her Calc book in Buffy's room yesterday after school. *I'll just go get it while she's in the shower. I'm going to need it later.*

Willow walked up the stairs, calling out as she went. "Buffy?" She heard the water running in the shower and headed for the bedroom.

Opening the door, she was surprised to find the room dark. Buffy usually had the curtains open, so that the sun could shine through. Willow's nose wrinkled. *What's that smell?* It was a musky odor, almost like an animal's den. The blankets from the bed were strewn on the floor. As her eyes adjusted to the dark, she saw more blankets on the windows and frowned. What was Buffy doing? It wasn't like her to stay in a dark, stuffy room. And while Buffy wasn't as neat as Willow, her room had never smelled funky like this before. *Maybe I should take them down for her, air the room out.*

"Willow! I didn't expect to find you up here." Buffy's heart was pounding as she stared at the redhead. She had nearly had a heart attack when she'd seen her door open. Thank god she'd put the robe back on.

"Buffy, why do you have blankets on the windows? Are you sure you're all right?"

"Yes, I'm sure. The blankets- you'll think it's stupid."

"No, I won't."

"I wanted the room to be like a cave. It felt comforting. Can you understand that?" Where was Spike? The closet?

Willow sighed with relief. "Yeah, I understand. I feel that way too, sometimes. Well, except that in my case, I'm afraid of the dark. Have you seen my Calc book? I think I left it here."

Buffy looked around, spotting it on the dresser. "Here it is, safe and sound." She needed to get Willow out of her room. "Listen, would you do me a favor and toast a bagel while I get dressed? I can eat it on the way." There was no way she could let the other girl see her naked, not with finger marks on her ass and Spike's bite on her breast.

"Sure! I'll see you downstairs."

"Thanks Willow, you're the best." Buffy locked the door behind her and turned toward the closet.

"Spike? Are you in there?" She opened the door to find him standing there naked, holding his jeans. Buffy laughed as the tension drained out of her body.

"I don't see what's so bloody funny about this, Slayer." He stomped past her and plopped back onto the bed. "She's not stupid, you know. Thank Christ your little friend is a virgin, or you'd be trying to explain the interesting aroma in your room."

Buffy began getting dressed. "Are you always this cranky when you wake up?" She turned to the mirror to brush her hair, jumping as his hands slid around her waist. *Dammit, does he have to sneak up on me like that?* Her head fell back as he nuzzled her neck.

"Just hurry back, luv. I'm not the most patient of men." He nibbled on her ear lobe.

"You're not patient, period. Oooh, Spike, that feels so good. Now stop it so I can go." She turned in his arms, giving him a quick kiss. "I'll be back before you know it."

"Hold on." He grabbed his jeans and dug his keys out. "Could you get my clothes out of the trunk? It's parked on the next street over. Someone I know ripped the ones I had on."

Buffy stuck her tongue out at him, grabbing the keys. She gave him another kiss and in a second she was gone, leaving the vampire to stare moodily after her. *Now what the fuck do I do?*

Willow sat across the table from Giles, surreptitiously glancing his way every couple of minutes. He sat there, staring morosely at a book, glasses perched on the end of his nose, hair sticking up in spots where his fingers had run through it in agitation. The Watcher had barely said two words to her since she'd arrived; he'd handed her a stack of books and then delved into one of his own, effectively ignoring her presence.

What was his problem? He'd never treated her this way before, not in the entire time that she'd known him. Willow was beginning to regret coming to the library alone. Having Xander, Oz, or even Cordelia around would have at least eased the tension somewhat. And why was there even tension at all? They'd worked together numerous times in the past- sometimes all night- and Willow had never felt anything but comfortable in Giles' presence. Now, the man she admired most in the world was acting as if she had the plague.

*Yeah, sure...admired.* Insufficient at best, when used to describe her feelings for Giles. Willow supposed it had been accurate in the beginning, when they'd first met. Giles had been so proper, so...British. The lone grownup in their midst, he'd been like a benevolent uncle, offering tea and sympathy to anyone who needed it. Someone to look up to, someone to lean on. Until Miss Calendar had swept into his life, making Willow sit up and take notice of the things she'd overlooked.

Like the way his eyes changed from blue to green behind his glasses, and how boyish he seemed when he took them off. The way he ran his hand through his hair when frustrated, or rubbed his eyes with the heel of his hand when tired. Suddenly, Willow noticed everything about Giles; watching as his hands caressed the cover of an old book, wondering if they'd be as gentle on her skin. She knew immediately if something was bothering him, just from the sound of his voice, or that clucking noise he made when he was angry. When Jenny had been killed, Willow had felt his pain as if it were her own; wanting more than anything to comfort him, knowing it was useless to even try. All she could do was look while pretending not to, and guard her secret carefully.

It wasn't that she didn't love Oz...she did. The way he looked at her made her stomach do that flip- floppy thing, and his kisses were so sweet and warm. He made her feel beautiful- something that no one else had ever done before. Oz was wonderful, he was special, he was...Oz.

Still, whenever she fantasized about her first time, it wasn't Oz, or even Xander to whom she gave her virginity. It was Giles, a man old enough to be her father. A man with a hidden, dangerous side that made the idea of sex with him all the more exciting...and all the more distressing. *How can I even THINK about Giles that way? I'm sick, disgusting...a bad, bad person.* She lowered her head as the heat crept across her face. *No one can ever know, I'd die of embarrassment.* They wouldn't understand, anyway- not even Buffy. Especially not Buffy.

Willow could just imagine the Slayer's reaction. In Buffy's mind, Giles was way too old to be considered a "hottie", which was ridiculous, considering her last boyfriend had been alive during the Revolutionary War.

Or had Angel already been undead by then? Alive, undead- it didn't really matter anymore, did it? Angel was gone for good and now Willow and her fish were safe from harm. *Well, not safe from the usual Hellmouth harm, but at least safe from Angelus harm.* She couldn't imagine what it must have been like for Buffy, to love Angel and then have to kill Angelus. No wonder the Slayer was having serious mood swings, who wouldn't?

Willow could understand the anger, the violence, the tears. What she couldn't figure out was that secretive smile, that happy glow that the Slayer sometimes had. Was it possible that Buffy had fallen for someone else? Who could it be? And why would she try to hide it? The way she'd been last night- letting Spike practically get close enough to bite her- had scared them all. He could have killed her right then and there. Buffy had acted as if she hadn't even cared, brushing them all off like it was nothing. The girl was headed for trouble, no doubt about it.

Willow sighed, her gaze drifting over to the masculine hands that were turning pages and tapping fingers on the table. She needed to concentrate on the research and forget about Buffy's problems for awhile. Willow had enough of her own to contend with, starting with her growing attraction to the man sitting across from her.


Spike paced restlessly after the Slayer left, wondering what he was going to do with himself. He took a shower and brushed his teeth, figuring he was safe in assuming that the purple sparkly toothbrush was Buffy's. He didn't think she'd mind his using it, considering the amount of bodily fluids they'd already exchanged.

Back in the bedroom, Spike pulled on his jeans, tugging the broken zipper partway closed and leaving them to ride low on his hips. He made the bed and straightened up the room, smiling as he picked up the tattered clothing from the floor. Would they ever have the patience to just undo the buttons? Probably not, and he didn't care if every outfit he owned was destroyed, as long as it was the Slayer doing the shredding.

A round pink pig was next to the bed; he threw it against the wall and caught it a few times before turning his attention to the other stuffed animals. A bunny wearing a vest, a frog that was stuffed behind the chair cushion as though someone had tried to hide it, a blue fuzzy monster of some kind, a couple of bears, and some bean-filled animals. No dolls, for which he was immensely grateful.

Spike had always hated the way Dru's dolls had seemed to stare at him with those blank faces and dead eyes. The Slayer only had cute, furry things that were soft to the touch. He played with them absently, moving them this way and that, rearranging them, all the while thinking about the Slayer and the things that she did to him.

He'd never known anyone like her- so full of life, so full of fire. So passionate and hungry, always eager for his touch. She made him feel things that he'd thought were impossible, especially for a demon. Every time he fed on her, it warmed him for hours afterward, as though he'd absorbed her entire essence along with her blood. Made him feel almost...human.

Funny, it was that very thing that Angelus hadn't been able to accept. Spike wondered why he wasn't bothered by human emotion the way Angelus had been. By all rights he should resent the Slayer for making him want her so desperately that he sometimes thought he'd go mad without her. *More deep thoughts, I'm a regular fucking philosopher lately.*

Bored with the animals, he started poking around in the closet. Her outfits always delighted him; they were so short, so easily torn. A wide grin split his face as he pictured the Slayer trying to explain to her mum why half of her wardrobe was missing. The woman was so fucking oblivious though, that she'd probably never notice.

The trunk on the floor caught his eye and he opened it, only to slam it shut as several crosses winked up at him. "Bloody hell!" He should have known better than to open it. Where to next?

Spike walked over to the vanity, wanting a closer look at the picture resting on top. The Slayer as a small child- round-cheeked and smiling- wearing ice skates. He ran his finger over the image. *Cute little tyke.* Putting it back, he picked up the book that lay next to it, noticing the rose stem peeking out of the pages.

Turning to the first page, he read the words "The Journal of Buffy Anne Summers" and closed it again, returning it to the vanity. A diary was a private thing and even though he was curious, Spike didn't want to betray the Slayer's trust. Besides, reading about her and Angel would only make him heave.

Angel. HE'D read the fucking thing. Angelus had bragged about it, laughing as he told them how Soul Boy had lied right to her face. Said her mum had moved the book. *Wanker.* Spike was many things- none of them very nice- but he still had his own standards. His 'code of honor', so to speak. Now that he was no longer under Angelus' control, he avoided behaving in any way that resembled his Sire. No, he wouldn't be reading the Slayer's diary; he wasn't that much of a prick.

Looking for something else to read, Spike scanned the bookcase. There weren't many books, not that that surprised him; he hadn't figured the Slayer for a big reader. A bunch by someone named Judy Blume, a couple of classics, one Shakespeare- Romeo and Juliet- and several romance novels with ridiculous sounding titles. Nothing interested him, so he walked back over to the bed, spotting another book on the night stand.

It was well worn and obviously much read, with creases in the binding. A man and woman in medieval clothing graced the cover, under the title Velvet Song. *Bloody stupid title.* Spike flopped down on the bed and got comfortable. *Might as well see what the Slayer likes to read.* He was beyond bored and the book would at least be good for a few laughs.

Turning to the first page, he began reading in his usual fashion- skimming over the pages to get the gist of the story while searching for any 'good parts'. *England, 1502, blah, blah, blah...flat-chested old maid of twenty...musically gifted, blah, blah, blah...* Spike frowned as he read about three noblemen trying to rape the girl. He'd seen enough of rape in both his life and his unlife to know that it disgusted him. The next part cheered him when the girl kicked the leader in the bollocks and escaped. *Serves you right, you bloody pillock.*

Of course, the noblemen came after the girl, killing her father and branding her a witch in the process. *Christ, what an ignorant time that was.* Unbidden, a vision came to him of a girl being burned at the stake while he watched from a curtained window. Extremely vivid, as if he'd been there.

He could smell the burning flesh, hear the crowd shouting in English and French as the girl cried out "Jesus!" over and over. The image was gone as quickly as it came, leaving him bewildered. He'd never witnessed a burning before, he was sure of it. Oh, he'd seen executions- beheadings, hangings...firing squad even- but never anyone burned at the stake. *Must have seen it on tv.* Spike shook his head and returned to the book, curious to see what happened next.

The girl- Alyx, disguised herself as a boy, hiding in the forest with a band of criminals led by one of the King's knights, an exiled nobleman. He treated her rudely, and she, of course, became increasingly attracted to him. *People actually read this rubbish? It's the bloody Middle Ages, where's the jousting? Where's the fighting? WHERE'S THE BLOODY FUCK SCENES!?! Spike grew increasingly annoyed with the book, shouting out loud in frustration, "Open your eyes, for fuck's sake! She's a girl, you half-wit!"

Finally, the moron got a fever and in his delirium, fucked the girl senseless. *About bloody time!* Naturally, the knight then proceeded to pretend that he didn't remember, making both Alyx AND Spike irritated beyond belief. He was on the verge of hurling the book across the room when the idiot gave in and shagged the girl again.

Buffy opened the door and stopped, staring at the sight that greeted her. Spike was lying across her bed, wearing just his half-opened jeans, reading a book. He looked so comfortable, so relaxed, so...edible. Her tongue darted out and touched her lower lip as her gaze drifted down his stomach to the vee made by the broken zipper.

"Spike?" She frowned as he grunted but didn't look up. "I brought your clothes," she said, tossing his duffle bag onto the bed.

"Thanks, pet." Spike glanced up from the book. "Does your mum know that you read this trash?" He lifted the book so that she could see the cover.

Buffy nearly choked when she saw what he was reading, then grew indignant at his words. "That's not trash! It's literature."

He snorted and continued reading. She watched in disbelief as he all but ignored her, irritation turning to amusement when she saw his lips moving. *A vampire who reads romance novels? What next?* She was turning to go back downstairs when he finally spoke.

"Whoa, what's this, then?" He looked up, eyes wide with wonder. "Is it physically possible, do you think?"

Buffy was almost afraid to ask. "Is 'what' physically possible?"

"Shagging on horseback," he replied, waving the book at her. He had a gleam in his eye that worried her.

"You mean there's something that you 'haven't' managed to do in two hundred years?"

"It never occurred to me to try." Spike looked thoughtful for a moment. "I'll bet it's not so hard to manage, though."

"Well, we lack a horse, so I guess it'll have to remain a mystery." She tried to change the subject, hoping that that would be the end of it. "How about lunch?"

Spike wasn't about to be deterred. "We could do it, there's a stable just up the street from the mansion..."


"Come on, Slayer...aren't you even curious? Where's your sense of adventure?" His boyish grin was doing its best to try to convince her, but she wasn't having any of it.

"Forget it, I'm not risking a broken neck, just so you can try out a new position. And sneaking around with you is adventure enough, I don't need any more excitement in my life."

She turned and left the room, his shout of "Spoilsport!" following her as she went. Buffy shook her head. *Horseback! Is he out of his mind?* Well yes, they both were, actually. They'd proved that just by being together.

In the kitchen, she made a sandwich and poured the blood into a mug, heating it in the microwave. She'd made Willy swear up and down that no one had died to supply it, then smacked him around a little to ensure his promise that he'd only use willing donors, and NOT steal from the hospital's blood bank. As she'd been leaving, Willy had asked her if she'd ever thought of being an actress. He had a friend in the movie business- strictly softcore, of course. It took every ounce of willpower to keep from going back and beating him up some more.

Buffy grabbed a soda and some chips and threw everything on a tray, heading back upstairs. As she walked into the room, Spike threw the book down in disgust.

"I can't believe Alyx left with that Joss bloke!"

"And I can't believe you read almost half of that book." Buffy set the tray down and turned to face him. "Anyway, she left because she wanted to keep Raine safe."

"You don't leave just because things get tough. Leaving only means you didn't care enough to stick around in the first place." It was something he'd always felt strongly about. If you loved someone, you stayed. Period.

"What if you thought you were doing it to save that person? Sacrificing your own happiness for someone else's?"

"Well then, pet, I guess I'm just a selfish bastard. I don't give up what's mine, not for any reason." There was an intensity in his gaze that should have frightened her, but didn't. "I stay until the bitter end, luv. I did it with Drusilla, didn't I? Stayed long after I bloody well should have left..." His voice trailed off, his expression both angry and sad as memories of Dru surfaced again.

Buffy looked up at him in surprise. He hardly ever mentioned Drusilla, almost desperately avoided talking about her. Unconsciously, she reached for him, stopping when he flinched from her touch.

Spike saw the hurt in her eyes and swore softly, pulling her close. He buried his face in her hair, forcing Drusilla from his mind. Her ghost could only haunt him if he let it, and he wasn't about to ruin the day with thoughts of his former lover. *Just stay dead Dru, that's all I fucking ask.* The Slayer's soft lips beckoned to him and he obeyed, kissing her until she couldn't breathe. She was all he wanted, all he needed...and to hell with everything else.

Reluctantly, Buffy pulled away, gasping for air. She planted a kiss at the base of his throat, nuzzling against him. Without warning, her stomach growled. She smiled up at Spike.

"We should eat something, don't you think?" Kissing him one last time, she turned and grabbed the mug, handing it to him, then took the tray over to the bed. As she ate her sandwich, Buffy watched him drink unselfconsciously, not turning away from her the way Angel used to.

"Thanks for getting this for me, luv. I hope Willy wasn't too much of a pain."

"He was, but that's okay. I did my best to give him an incentive to be a better person." Her gaze wandered around the room, seeing how clean it was. "Hey, you picked up. What else did you get into...Spike! What have you done to them!?!" she wailed, noticing for the first time that her animals had all been rearranged...lewdly.

Kermit had his velcro hands and feet wrapped around Grover in a sixty-nine position and Mr. Gordo was being rammed from behind by Peter Rabbit. The bears were in missionary and the beanies were in a giant daisy chain of various x-rated poses. Buffy leaped from the bed and frantically began separating them.

"What? What's wrong?" Spike asked, wondering what she was freaking out about. He couldn't see what the problem was.

"How could you do that to Kermit and Grover and...and Mr. Gordo! You might have scarred them for life!"

*Oh great, another female who thinks that her bloody toys are real.* "Um, DO realize that they're stuffed, right?" Spike didn't like the look in her eyes; she looked like she wanted to hurt him.

"Of course I know that! I'm not crazy!" She was cuddling the pig as if she were afraid that Spike would touch him again.

"Then why-"

"It's a girl thing, okay? I can't explain it, you just can't go around messing with other people's stuffed animals." She put them all back in their places and glared at him one more time before settling back down with her lunch.

Spike just looked at her and shook his head in disbelief. *Women!*


Willow was lost in another erotic daydream, when Giles finally looked up from the text he was reading.

"Find anything yet, Willow?"

"What?" Willow jumped, startled by the sound of his voice. She flushed guiltily, tucking her hair behind her ears. "Um, no. Sorry, Giles."

"Are you all right? You look feverish." Without thinking, Giles rose from his chair and went to her, pressing the back of his hand to her forehead. Her skin was soft and cool against his hand and the light scent of her shampoo filled his nostrils, making him dizzy for just a second.

"Giles?" Her voice came from far away, almost breathless. He looked down into luminous green eyes and snatched his hand away quickly as if he'd been burned.

Giles cleared his throat. "Y-Yes, well. Your temperature seems fine, then." He turned and went up into the stacks, anxious to be away from her before he did something really stupid. *You're getting worse each day, Ripper. Can't you bloody control yourself?* He tried to clear his head by scanning the shelves for another book.

Willow sat there in a daze, still feeling the imprint of his warm hand on her skin. She watched as he walked away, running his hand through his hair as he headed for the stacks. Part of her wanted to call him back, beg him to touch her again. She shook her head to clear it, amazed at her own foolishness. *As if he could ever want ME. I'm sure he thinks I'm just a child.*

Oz, she should think of Oz. He was perfect for her in every way- smart, funny...nice hands. They even had the same color hair and eyes. When Oz had his regular hair, that is. And he was sweet, sweeter than any guy had a right to be. The Dingoes always attracted girls at the Bronze and Oz could have any one of them if he wanted. Instead, he chose to be with her- shy, nerdy Willow. She was so lucky...she knew that. So why was she dreaming about someone she could never have?

Giles came out from behind the bookshelves, mumbling to himself.

"Blast! I thought there was another volume back there...Willow?"


"A shipment of books came yesterday, could you get them out of my office, please?"

"Sure thing, Giles."

Willow looked around the office, finding two boxes. One was obviously from a bookseller, but the other one had an unfamiliar name on it. She brought them both out into the main room, setting them on the table. Knowing Giles, he probably hadn't even looked at them, just assumed they were both filled with books.

"Giles, what's this one?" She held up the smaller box. "It's from someone named Reginald Weston, Esquire."

"Really? From Weston? He is, or rather was, my grandmother's solicitor. How odd." Giles picked up the box and opened it, removing a carefully wrapped package and two envelopes. The first envelope held a letter from the solicitor, saying only that he'd been instructed to forward this package to Giles two years after his grandmother's death. Whatever it was hadn't been included with the other possessions from her estate.

Giles quickly opened the second envelope and removed his grandmother's letter. His eyes began to water as he stared at the familiar handwriting before him. He missed Edwina- his Gran. She'd been the only one besides Meredith who'd seemed to understand him. Giles had never felt close to his father; it was always Edwina that he'd looked up to.

She'd been like a force of nature- wild in her youth, formidable in her prime. The Council had tried to control her and failed miserably; she had done as she pleased and her Slayers had always flourished. Giles did his best to follow in her footsteps, believing her methods to be superior to those promoted by the Council.

He began reading the letter, anxious to discover what she had to tell him from beyond the grave. The letter was short and to the point, the way that Edwina had always expressed herself in life. She said that she was leaving him the journals of a Watcher, Lucien Aubry, and his Slayer, Anne LeMaire. They had lived in France during the 15th century and their journals had been replicated- as was required with all of the Watcher diaries- in order to preserve them. The Council was unaware of their existence, the diaries having been kept secret by a select group of Watchers for five hundred years.

His grandmother had always loved thumbing her nose at the Council and she'd instilled in Giles a healthy lack of respect for them. Her letter told him to translate the journals and guard the information in them carefully. She said precious little about what he would find, only saying that he might be surprised at what he would discover. Edwina always did enjoy being enigmatic; it had driven him crazy as a youth. *Dear, dear Edwina. Even in death you manage to have the last word.*

She closed the note by telling him to stay safe, a common refrain in the past. His finger traced her signature as memories of her flooded him. After a moment, Giles blinked the tears from his eyes and looked up to find Willow watching him with concern.

"What is it Giles? Are you okay?" She could see that the letter affected him and was relieved when he smiled back at her.

"I'm fine, Willow. Just something...unexpected, is all." He set down the letter and went about unwrapping the journals.

The books were old, but not ancient. The fact that they were reproductions made them easier to handle; if they'd been original, they wouldn't have been able to be touched, for fear of them disintegrating. Giles wondered what was in them that made their existence such a secret. He couldn't wait to start translating.

Willow looked at him questioningly. "Are those more Watcher's diaries?"

Giles nodded. "And a Slayer's journal. They're copies actually, from the fifteenth century. They'll need to be translated- they're in archaic French." He handed them over to Willow, letting her look through them.

"I'll take the Slayer's journal, you take the Watcher's. It'll go faster that way." She was excited about being able to read the diary of a young girl from another time. And in French, too. It was sort of...romantic. "Do you think we'll find anything useful in them?"

"Anything's possible, especially on the Hellmouth. These names are new to me; I don't recall seeing them in the Watcher index." His forehead wrinkled as he concentrated, trying to remember if he'd seen any reference to the names at all. Could what they'd been looking for be right here? "Only one way to find out, I suppose. Shall we get started?"

Their eyes met again, happy grins lighting their faces as the excitement coursed through them, brought on by the prospect of a new mystery to unravel. Excitement that only the two of them shared...or understood. It was what drove them- the search for knowledge.

The tension forgotten, Willow and Giles began the long process of translating the journals, working side by side in their old familiar rhythm, sharing information and satisfied smiles as the day wore on.


Buffy had forgiven Spike for mistreating her stuffed animals and now sat on the floor of her bedroom, eating Chocolate Mint Haagen Daz. She was leaning against the bed, surrounded by pillows with Spike's head in her lap, listening as he told her about the different places that he'd lived in and the historical events that he'd witnessed. It was so much more interesting to hear about history from someone who'd actually lived it, as opposed to boring teachers who only looked as if they had.

Spike seemed so at ease lying there, his face youthful and relaxed. Every so often, Buffy put down the ice cream and ran her fingers through his hair, watching as he would close his eyes and smile, rumbling low in his chest like a giant kitty. *More like a jungle cat, all sleek and muscular.* A possessive smile crept across her face. *And all mine.*

"Spike?" Her hand glided through the short platinum waves in a steady motion.

"Yeah, luv?" He was in heaven- as close to heaven as he'd ever get, anyway- and it was so warm, so comforting, driving his demon farther and farther away. *Don't stop, luv, don't ever stop...*

"I'm glad you stayed."

His eyes opened. "Me too, pet." He smiled up at her, enjoying the view of her full breasts from his position. She was so soft like this, all signs of the Slayer gone for the time being. Just a girl, all curves and sweet smelling.

"I wish..." Her voice trailed off and she looked away for a minute. When she turned back to him, he was staring up at her, blue eyes glowing in the dim light.

"I know, baby." He rubbed his cheek against her thigh, seeking more contact.

They both felt it- a yearning for something that was beyond their reach, a longing for a life that they could never have. Buffy lightly stroked the side of Spike's face, wanting to stay like this forever- no Hellmouth, no minions, no disapproving friends. Just the two of them, together for always.

Sighing, she picked up the ice cream and started quizzing Spike on his likes and dislikes, eager to know more about him. "What's your favorite color?"

He raised an eyebrow, giving her a 'duh' kind of look. "Red and black."

"Favorite movie?" She took a big spoonful of the Chocolate Mint, giving a happy moan as she swallowed.

"I don't have one favorite, there are too many to choose from. I've seen just about every bloody movie there ever was."

"Well, what are some that you liked?" Another spoonful, another happy sound.

"I like the old films- 'The Thin Man', 'Casablanca', that sort of thing. And anything with Cary Grant."

"Oh, I love Cary Grant! 'Bringing Up Baby' is one of my favorites."

"No, 'To Catch a Thief'...he was so bloody smooth in that one, AND he got to shag Grace Kelly." His eyes followed the spoon as it disappeared into her mouth again.

One slender eyebrow arched as she looked down at him. "Have a thing for cool blondes, do you?"

"No, luv. Just hot ones," he said, with a seductive grin.

Buffy blushed and cleared her throat. "What other stuff do you like?"

"Let's see, then, action pictures- Quentin Tarantino, John Woo...ever see 'Hard Boiled'? Great film starring Chow Yun Fat and Tony Leung- lots of shooting, explosions- much better action scenes than in your American movies." Just thinking about it got him wanting to see it again. He'd have to find a copy on tape somewhere. "What about you? What's your favorite?"

Buffy didn't hesitate. "The Princess Bride."

Spike closed his eyes and quoted, "Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for awhile." He opened his eyes and grinned as she gave him a surprised look. "Told you, pet. I've seen 'em all."

Again, Spike managed to catch her off guard with his romantic streak. She would have expected the usual guy quote from that movie- 'Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya'. *God knows Xander says it enough times.*

Instead, he'd quoted her favorite line, the one that always gave her a warm feeling each time she watched the movie. True love- was it such an impossible dream? After Angel, she'd figured that love was something she'd never find again. And now look at her. In love with another vampire, one who made her feel things that Angel never had.

Spike watched as she ate another spoonful, curiosity getting the better of him. "How about giving us a taste, luv?" If her expression was any indication, it had to be good.

Buffy scooped up some Chocolate Mint and fed it to him, smiling as he made a little sound in his throat. As she started to pull the spoon away, he bit down on it, grabbing her wrist at the same time to hold it there.

Fascinated, she watched as he sucked every drop of ice cream off the spoon, then licked the surface clean. His mouth filled her vision- those perfect lips, that oh so skilled tongue that was moving up the spoon to her fingers. She forgot to breathe for a moment when it touched her skin, a tiny whimper escaping from her throat.

His eyes never left hers as he sucked her index finger into his mouth, and that low-down tickle started on its journey from her bellybutton to her groin. After a minute of exquisite torture, he released her and slid his hands under her shirt, pushing it up out of the way.

"In two hundred years, I've never tasted anything so delicious."

Nearly breathless, Buffy managed to squeak out, "I-It's good ice cream."

Blue, blue eyes looked up at her through dark lashes.

"I wasn't talking about the ice cream, pet." "Oh." Buffy moaned as he brushed his lips tenderly across her stomach, feeling his cold tongue circle her navel. She managed somehow to put the ice cream on the floor and tangled her hands in his hair, pressing close. Her body tingled all over, from her head to her feet, nipples thrusting up through the thin material of her top.

Spike nipped at her skin with blunt teeth, chuckling as her body arched toward him. His fingertips danced over goosebumped flesh, just touching the swell of her breasts. The smell of her was driving him crazy, forcing him to nuzzle lower and lower, until his face was pressed against the crotch of her pants. He burrowed there, biting through the light fabric, growling as his cock hardened.

"Tell me that you want me, Slayer." His fingers hooked into her waistband and stopped, waiting for her to answer.

"I want you, Spike...please..." She always wanted him, it was all she ever thought about.

His mouth followed the pants as they slid over her hips and down her legs. After removing them completely, Spike planted soft kisses along her thigh, working his way slowly back to her nest of curls. His tongue darted out to taste her, then began a steady, stroking rhythm on her clitoris as her cries pierced the air around him.

The pleasure coursing through Buffy's body was almost more than she could bear. His mouth was cold, so cold- made more so by the ice cream- swirling, stroking, sucking, until she was nearly screaming for release. She tried to thrust harder against his face, wanting more...needing more, but he held her still and continued the slow, maddening pace. When she was right on the brink, he stopped, bringing a howl of frustration from her lips.

"Tell me that you need me." Spike could feel her shaking beneath his hands, so close to coming that he knew it would only take one touch to send her over the edge.

"I do, I need you..." she whispered, then screamed his name as his tongue found the underside of her clitoris, making her shatter into a million pieces.

Spike quickly yanked off his jeans and thrust himself into her still quaking body, groaning as her heat enveloped him. Her muscles gripped him as they spasmed from the force of her orgasm, almost making him come as soon as he was inside her. Spike buried his face in her neck as he drove into her, feeling her pulse against his mouth. Just before he was about to come, he stopped again, raising his head to look in her eyes. In a low, husky voice he made his third demand.

"Tell me that you love me."

Two weeks ago, she would have denied it. Would never even have considered leaving herself vulnerable that way. But now she was powerless against the need in his voice, the magnetic pull of his eyes. Reaching up to touch his face, she sealed her fate with four simple words- "I love you, Spike."

With a triumphant growl, he kissed her...and then he was coming- hard, fast- pouring his seed deep in her womb. A tiny part of him wishing that it would take root and grow...wishing the impossible.

Spike collapsed in the Slayer's arms, resting his head on her breast, listening to the music of her heartbeat. Wondering if they'd tempted fate once too often and not really caring if they had.

Buffy held him close, sliding her fingers through his hair. She was still dazed from Spike's lovemaking, dazed and...terrified. Terrified that by admitting her love for him, she'd sentenced them both to certain doom.

It had happened with Angel and the situation with Spike was much worse, with all of the secrecy and sneaking around. It was only a matter of time before someone found out about them. She couldn't guarantee that Giles or even Xander wouldn't try to kill Spike, and if that happened she'd lose, no matter what the outcome.

She loved Giles- and Xander too, she supposed- but Spike was a part of her now, just as she was a part of him. They were joined together by her blood and a love so intense that it threatened to consume her. Buffy couldn't imagine life without him.

Spike's hands moved restlessly under her shirt, as if they were memorizing the feel of her skin. He kept thinking about their earlier conversation, when they were talking about that stupid book. The ridiculous notion that it was better to be noble and set someone free. Well, he'd never claimed to be selfless and wasn't about to start now.

"Promise me, Slayer." He brushed his lips across her breast, feeling her hardened nipple through her shirt. "Promise me you won't leave, even if it means watching me die."

Buffy blinked back tears, wanting to tell him no, that there was no way she could agree to such a thing. That she'd leave in a second if it meant that he'd be safe. But she couldn't refuse him; she loved him too much. *Too much, too soon. God, what have I done? *

Her hands tightened in his hair and she closed her eyes, saying the words that he wanted to hear. "I promise, Spike. I promise I won't leave you."

And she prayed that she'd never have to.