Secrets & Lies


by: Lynn
Continuation of The Chains Series



The group stared in surprise at Buffy's abrupt departure. Willow looked worriedly at Oz and he shook his head, murmuring, "Later."

He'd already decided to tell his girlfriend what he'd discovered, knowing that Willow wouldn't repeat what he told her. Buffy needed to talk to someone, that much was obvious from the strain that showed on her face. He just hoped that she wouldn't be too pissed off at him later on.

Willow wondered what it was that Oz knew. She was beyond worried now; Buffy had been so pale, with an almost frightened look on her face. What was going on? She had seemed fine earlier- a little distant- but then, she'd been that way for the last few weeks. Maybe she 'was' ill. But if that was all, then why did Oz look so disturbed?

Xander was daydreaming about the dance that he'd shared with the Slayer. The way that she'd moved had excited him more than he'd ever thought possible.

After the song had ended, he'd stood there in shock for a few minutes, before finally heading to the bathroom to 'cool off'. He hadn't run into her on the way. *That must have been when she was outside, slaying the vampire. I probably just missed her.*

He knew that it was strange, that even though he was dating a girl that most guys would kill for, he still lusted after Buffy. She was his untouchable dream, he supposed, which made him want her all the more. It didn't help matters that now that Deadboy was out of the picture for good, his fantasies had spun completely out of control. Fantasies that were going to get him in a lot of trouble, if he wasn't careful.


*********
The DeSoto was speeding down I-17, headed for the beach...and privacy. It had become one of their favorite places- deserted after dark, with just the sound of the ocean resonating in the background.

Spike had been eager to get the Slayer away from the Bronze, to take her somewhere that they could be alone. Normally, she'd be chattering a mile a minute on the drive down, but tonight, she was silent.

Spike had noticed the Slayer's distress right away, but she hadn't given him a clue as to what was bothering her. She just sat there, staring out the window, her fingers twisting in her lap. Finally, he couldn't take it anymore and reached over to pull her close.

"What is it, luv? What's wrong?" He put his arm around her as she curled up at his side, letting his fingers slide through her hair.

Buffy took a deep breath. "Oz knows. He knows that I was with someone tonight."

Spike frowned. "Oz...is that the wolf?" *Bloody hell, she 'would' have to have a fucking werewolf for a friend.*

Buffy nodded and burrowed in closer, wrapping an arm around his waist. "He'll tell Willow...he doesn't like to keep things from her. He wouldn't know that it was you, would he? I mean, he doesn't necessarily know I was with a vampire, right?" Her voice was high pitched with panic and she let out a shuddering sigh. "I'm scared, Spike."

Her admission shocked him. He'd never seen her exhibit fear, unless you counted Halloween, when she'd been caught in that spell. The other times that he'd tried to kill her, the times that Angelus had tormented her- she'd been in complete control. She'd knocked a bloody organ down on him, hadn't she? Not even when she'd faced Angelus and killed him, had she shown any signs of being frightened.

"Do you trust them, luv?"

"Yes, I trust them. It's just that after everything that happened with Angel, I don't know how they'll react. Willow's been spending so much time with Giles...what if she tells him?"

"Do you really think she will? Willow's your best friend, isn't she?"

"She is...and I don't think she'd tell him, but...you never know. Maybe she'd think it was the right thing to do. I lied to him...to all of them. I don't want them to hate me." Buffy slid down his chest until her head was in his lap. "I'm just so tired, Spike." Tears dripped onto his leg, wetting his jeans. "So very tired."

A pang of remorse ran through him as he considered what she'd been going through. Killing Angel. The two of them becoming involved. All of the late nights with little or no sleep at all. The strain of keeping their relationship hidden from everyone that she knew was taking its toll. *If you had any kind of honor at all, you'd walk away from her...let her have her life back.* He unconsciously shook his head at the thought. He wouldn't give her up- 'couldn't' give her up- no matter what. He'd die first.

Spike ran his hand through her hair in a continuous motion as he drove, lulling her to sleep. He wondered how she'd managed to steal his undead heart in such a short time. How she'd managed to tame his demon when no one else could. As she drifted off, Buffy just barely heard him as he said, "It'll be all right, baby. I'll take care of everything...somehow..."


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


Oz was silent as he drove Willow home, wondering what to tell her about Buffy. How did he tell someone like Willow that her best friend had been having sex in a public place? And that that was the least of it? One of his reasons for remaining taciturn was that opening your mouth usually got you into trouble. But he could tell that Buffy was close to the edge, and maybe they could help.

Willow waited for Oz to say something- anything- the entire ride home. Finally, when he pulled up to her house, she turned to him. "Well? Are you planning to tell me what's going on?"

Her penetrating stare made him squirm for a moment as he continued to debate with himself.

"Oz? I want to know what's wrong with Buffy and I want to know now."

Oz ran his hand through his hair. *Shit! Resolve face.* There was no way out, so he just said it. "Buffy had sex with someone at the Bronze." He glanced up and caught the stunned look on her face.

"Buffy wouldn't do that, she's not that kind of person."

It was said as a statement of fact, but he could hear the underlying doubt in her voice. Oz sighed. "Buffy did do that, Willow. It's almost full moon...I could smell it."

Willow blushed and said vehemently, "Well, you're wrong! You just misinterpreted whatever it was you smelled."

"I didn't misinterpret anything. The wolf recognized it, there's no mistaking that scent." After her reaction, he dreaded saying the rest of it. "There's more." She looked up at him questioningly. "The person that Buffy was with...wasn't...human." He took a deep breath. "He was a vampire."

"How do you- "

"I could smell blood, and a vampire's scent is different than a human's. I can't describe it, but it's hard to miss."

"Are you sure?"

He nodded. "I'm sure."

"Blood...she let him 'feed' from her?" Willow shook her head as the implications sunk in. *No, no, no, no, no...*

This wasn't happening again. Buffy couldn't be involved with another vampire...it wasn't possible. Not after Angelus...and what happened to Jenny. Her voice was high and thin as she asked, "But, who? How-?"

An image came to her- of Spike on top of Buffy, the look in the Slayer's eyes after the fight- and suddenly, like the final puzzle piece clicking into place, everything became clear. Spike. "God, how could I have been so stupid?" she wailed.

Oz looked at her in surprise. "What?"

"The fight with Spike, the way she keeps brushing off Giles whenever he's mentioned. Oh my god, that day in her room! She had the windows covered...and the room smelled...strange...musky." She blushed again as she realized what they'd been doing, and that Spike had been probably still been in the room, hiding in the closet. No wonder Buffy had wanted her out of there in a hurry. "Spike, it's gotta be Spike. It couldn't be anyone else."

"The question is why? I mean, Angel had a soul, but Spike..."

Willow interrupted him. "The research! That's why Buffy wants to know if vampires keep their souls. It doesn't have anything to do with Angel at all." Everything made sense now and every aspect of Buffy's behavior could finally be explained. The mood swings, the way she always looked on the verge of exhaustion. Her obsession with the soul research.

"So, what do we do about it?" Oz asked, relieved to see that Willow had calmed down after her initial shock.

" 'We' do nothing, or at least, we don't tell anyone. I'll talk to Buffy tomorrow and find out exactly what's going on between her and Spike. No one else can know about this. Giles...I have no idea how he'd react. He's still trying to deal with Jenny's death, and anyway...it's not our place to tell him. It's Buffy's."

It went without saying that they had to keep this from Xander. He just wasn't rational where Buffy was concerned and considering how much he'd hated Angel- well, there was no telling what he'd do if he found out about Spike. No, it would have to stay between the two of them. There was nothing else they could do.

Oz pulled Willow close and held her, thinking how lucky he was that they didn't have to hide, like Buffy and Spike. Buffy looked like she was close to a breakdown, and he'd never want to put Willow through anything like that. No, he was very fortunate that being a werewolf hadn't changed anyone's opinion of him. Very fortunate.

They kissed and said goodnight, both of them deep in thought as they wondered what would happen in the days to follow. And if anyone would be left standing when the shit hit the fan.


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


Buffy started as the phone rang, looking at it apprehensively before picking it up. "Hello?"

"Buffy, it's Willow. We need to talk, I'll be over in a few minutes."

Buffy sighed. "Okay, Willow. I'll see you in a little while." She hung up the phone and walked over to the mirror, staring at her reflection.

She had lost weight in the past few weeks, and there were hollows under her eyes from lack of sleep. She also didn't feel well- most likely she was getting sick due to the abuse her body had suffered lately. Her Slayer strength was probably the only reason why she hadn't landed in the hospital, suffering from exhaustion. Her mother had given her a speech yesterday about the virtues of healthy eating and getting plenty of rest. Buffy let out a harsh laugh. *If she only knew just how little rest her daughter actually gets.* Picking up her brush, she turned her attention to the impending confrontation with Willow.

Oz had obviously told her. Buffy wondered how much she really knew...if she had any idea who Buffy had been with. If she knew that it was Spike. A flush spread across her skin as she thought about what they'd done in the Bronze. It had been so good to be with him again, to feel him inside her where he belonged...just to feel him, period.

After they'd parked at the beach, Spike had just let her sleep, holding her until there was only a couple of hours of darkness left. Then, he'd awakened her and they had made love, with her straddling him in the back seat while his lips roamed over her skin. Moving slowly, so slowly...their undulating bodies mimicking the waves crashing on the shore. Buffy shivered at the memory, wondering if Willow could ever understand the way it was between them. The way they fit together so perfectly.

Just as she finished brushing her hair, the doorbell rang. Buffy took her time answering it, trying to delay the inevitable. When the door swung open, the two girls just stared at each other until finally, Willow spoke. "Hi," she said, softly.

"Hi." Buffy gestured for her to come in. "Let's go up to my room, in case Mom comes home."

They went upstairs and settled themselves on the bed in awkward silence. The two of them sat there for a moment, eyes wandering around the room, wondering how to start, when finally, they turned to each other.

"Buf-" "Will-"

They both began speaking at the same time. Buffy motioned for Willow to go first.

"I guess by now you've figured out why I'm here. Oz told me about you...that you were having...well, you know...in the Bronze." Willow took a deep breath and plunged in. "Just tell me the truth. Is it Spike?"

Buffy stared at the hacker in shock. *Over, it's all over. What's gonna happen now?* All of the air went out of her as she answered, "Yes, it's Spike."

Willow nodded as her suspicion was confirmed. Buffy continued staring at her numbly. "How did you know?" she asked, her voice sounding defeated as she looked down at the bedspread.

"Oz could...tell...that he wasn't human. And I said, 'but Buffy wouldn't do that'...and Oz said that you 'did' too do that...and then...all I could think of was that fight you two had a month ago. The way you didn't seem to care that Spike had bitten you. The way you enjoyed it so much..." Her voice trailed off as she stared at the Slayer's bent head. "It just made sense, that it was him." She looked away for a minute, then back at Buffy. "Why didn't you tell me? I thought I was your best friend."

Buffy's head shot up. "You 'are' my best friend! I just...I didn't think..." She sighed. "After everything with Angel, how could I tell you? It just happened, I couldn't believe it myself, at first."

"How? How does something like that just happen?"

"It's a long story..." Buffy began telling Willow about her deal with Spike, about killing Angel. About their subsequent meetings, and how they couldn't seem to stay away from each other. About the rose in her locker, signifying Spike's tender, romantic side. She told Willow everything, only leaving out the more intimate details.

When she was finished, the redhead was silent. Finally, she looked up at Buffy and asked, "Do you love him?"

Buffy nodded. "Yes." She gave a short, humorless laugh. "What are the odds? I'm a Slayer and I fall in love with not one, but two vampires. It's different with Spike, though. I never felt like I needed Angel the way that I need Spike. When we're together, everything feels right. When we're not...it hurts to be apart. It's like an ache in the middle of my chest." Buffy looked down again as tears pricked the corners of her eyes. "Willow? What are you gonna do? Are you going to tell Giles?"

Willow sighed. "No, I won't tell. But I think that you should."

Buffy looked at her, panic stricken. "I can't! Not yet, not until I find out..."

"You want to be sure that Spike has a soul."

"I am sure of it. I just need proof." Buffy got up and began to pace around the room. "Do you think that Anne's journal will tell us anything?"

"I don't know. The translation is going a lot faster, now that we're used to the language. We'll keep looking in other places, though." Willow was thoughtful for a moment. "Buffy? What if we don't find anything? What if there's no proof?"

"Then I'll just have to deal. It doesn't change who he is- it doesn't change the fact that I love him. 'I' can feel his soul...that's all that matters." Buffy looked at her beseechingly. "You know that I wouldn't do anything to hurt you, right? After what happened with Angel...if I thought that Spike was dangerous..."

*You didn't think that Angel was dangerous either, and look what happened.* Willow felt bad for even thinking the words, but then again, Buffy wasn't the one that Angelus had tried to kill. No, he'd only been interested in stalking Buffy, in taunting her by threatening her friends. Willow didn't think that she'd ever forget the feeling of his hands around her throat.

Still, Buffy believed that Spike wouldn't hurt them, and as her friend, Willow had to trust her. "I know that you'd never willingly put us in danger again. And Oz and I won't tell anyone...he didn't even want to tell me, but he was worried about you." She studied the Slayer's haggard face. "At least now I know why you've been acting so strange lately. Are you getting any sleep at all?"

"Some. When I do sleep though, I have these weird dreams. In French."

"Buffy, you don't speak French, you totally suck in French."

"Willow!" Buffy tried to look indignant and failed. She sighed. "You're right, j'e stink. That's what's so weird. How can I understand what's being said in my dreams? It's like I'm me, but I'm not. And there's a man. Sometimes, I think it's Spike, but he doesn't look anything like him." She sat back down on the bed. "Some of the dreams are scary. Like something bad is going to happen and I can't stop it."

"Big evil bad?"

"Not really. Not end of the world bad, like the Master rising and the Hellmouth opening." Buffy's eyes were dark as she stared at the redhead. "It feels more personal, like I'm going to lose everything that matters to me." Buffy grabbed Willow's hand. "I can't lose Spike, not now, not so soon after Angel! There has to be a way to stop whatever it is..."

Willow didn't know what to say. "Do you know for sure if they're prophecy dreams?"

The Slayer shook her head. "I can't help thinking that they have something to do with the journals. That day, when I touched Anne's...Willow, how much longer until you're finished translating?"

"I don't know. A couple of weeks, maybe...if we work night and day. Not that Giles would complain. He's hardly been able to tear himself away from them."

"Try to find out as much as you can, as fast as you can. I just wish that I could help, somehow." Buffy could feel some of the weight lift off of her, now that Willow knew everything. She didn't feel so alone. "I'm glad that you found out about Spike. I didn't like keeping it from you."

"I can understand, I guess. Not how you fell in love with him- I don't think I'll ever understand that- but I know why you kept it a secret." They both smiled then, feeling close again for the first time in weeks. "Wanna come hang at the library while I work on the journals? I'm sure that Giles is anxious for you to start pounding on him again. All of his bruises are healed from the last time."

Buffy brightened at the prospect of whupping Giles' ass. "Training girl, that's me. Just let me grab some workout clothes."

In the back of her mind, it occurred to her that Willow spoke about Giles in a very familiar way. *Well, they 'have' been working together a lot. She probably sees more of him than of anyone else.* Shrugging it off, Buffy retrieved her clothes and they set out for the library, talking easily once more, like the best friends that they were.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Journal of Anne LeMaire

19 October, 1433

Tonight, I killed my first vampire. Oncle Lucien said that it was time for me to face what my duty entails, should I ever be called. Monsieur d'Arras- the butcher- had been found three nights ago, drained of blood. We settled by his grave and waited for his undead form to rise. It did not take long.

I shall never forget the sight of him- clawing his way out of the earth, mad with hunger and bloodlust. Oncle said that when a vampire first rises, there is just an animal, incapable of speech because of the ravening thirst for blood. Monsieur d'Arras looked exactly like what he was- a demon- with his grotesque face and yellow eyes. And his teeth! Sharp fangs jutting out of his mouth, snapping together in anticipation of feeding.

I remember pausing, trying to see the man that I knew beneath the face of the monster. It was almost my undoing. The creature (I cannot think of him as anything else) took advantage of my hesitation and grabbed my leg, pulling me to the ground. He was on me in an instant, his fetid stench in my face as he moved in for the kill. I did the only thing that I could, slamming my head into his and shoving his body from me. He was so strong- I have never felt anything like it. No amount of training can fully prepare you for that first encounter with the undead.

I fought with everything that I had, relying on all that I have learned thus far. The fight seemed to last forever, nearly draining me of my strength. Finally, I managed to trip him and drive my stake through his heart. He turned to dust almost instantly and I fell to the ground, sobbing with relief.

As I lay there, my only thought was that I had never felt such fear...or such exhilaration. It is sinful, I know, to feel pride. But oh, the power that rushed through my veins! It was incredible- so satisfying- like nothing on this earth.

Oncle Lucien came to me and said that he had never seen such carelessness, that I had ignored all of my lessons, ignored everything that I had been taught. Anger swept through me and I had to lower my head so that he would not see the defiance in my eyes. How dare he! He was not the one who had almost been killed by that monster! He was not the one who had to feel the weight of it on top of him, who had to breathe in the stench of pure evil. He had not been the one to stare into the eyes of death.

He will sit with his books and his theories, and it is quite possible that he will never face any of the terrors that I will encounter. It is almost certain that he will never get blood on his hands, unless it is my own. He will never know the burden of being the Chosen One.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As he read Anne's words, Giles wondered if Buffy felt the same way toward him. Angry and resentful because he wasn't on the front lines fighting alongside her. He wouldn't blame her for hating him at times; he knew that he often felt self-loathing when sending her off alone to battle the forces of darkness.

He looked over at Buffy, who was sitting across the room with Willow, talking quietly. His eyes softened as he gazed at the two girls, their red and gold heads bent together conspiratorially. *Now, what could those two be talking about?* Boys? Well, maybe in Willow's case, but as far as he knew, there had been no one else for the Slayer since Angel. Although with her recent behavior, he supposed that anything was possible.

When Buffy had arrived at the library with Willow two days ago, Giles had been pleasantly surprised to see that the tension that had been so apparent lately was missing. The Slayer had been happy and relaxed, and the training session had gone better than he'd expected. There were still shadows under her eyes, however, and she'd mentioned feeling under the weather. No matter- the old Buffy appeared to be back, and he surmised that her good health would also return soon enough.

Giles turned back to the journals and continued reading about Anne's thirteenth year, eager to learn more about the young girl and her experiences as a Slayer.


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


Trapped. He was trapped by the sun every fucking day of his unlife. He wanted to walk outside and feel its warmth on his cold skin, to see the Slayer bathed in its golden light. He wanted...he wanted...FUCK! He always wanted what he couldn't have.

The minions were being secretive, whispering when they thought he wasn't paying attention, breaking off their conversations when he entered the room. Christ, why was he still fucking here? What did he hope to accomplish by staying? *Staying in control, you stupid sod...that's what you hope to accomplish.* They were going to turn on him, if he wasn't careful. He could feel the unrest brewing even now.

And to top it all off, the redhead and the wolf knew about him. The Slayer had said that they wouldn't tell- that the redhead had promised- but bloody hell, what if she was wrong? What would happen to them...to her? Was there some sort of punishment for Slayers who consorted with the undead?

Yeah, she'd been involved with Angel, but the wanker didn't count, did he? He was a fucking 'goody-two-shoes', fighting against the evil horde like some sodding superhero. What would they do to her if it came out that she was getting shagged almost nightly by the un- souled?

He'd told her that he would take care of everything. Yeah, right. Lot of fucking help 'he' was...he couldn't even take care of things here at the mansion. What 'could' he do anyway? Short of killing the wolf and the girl. *Don't think that'd go over too well, mate. No snacking on the friends, remember?*

He was useless in that area anyway- couldn't fucking remember the last time he'd killed anyone. Worse than bloody Soul Boy, he was. All because of one tiny girl. One tiny, golden, delicious girl who never left his thoughts for one bleedin' second. Who'd done the unthinkable and made him feel human again, for the first time in nearly two hundred years.


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


From the Journal of Anne LeMaire

23 August, 1434

It has happened. I have been called and now it is my turn. My turn to face unspeakable evil, night after night. I am terrified, and yet...there is an undeniable feeling of excitement. The few vampires that I have faced this past year will be nothing compared to what will come, and it gives me pleasure to know that I will be fighting as Jehanne did, for the good of mankind.

Oncle says that I must train ever harder, for the safety of all rests upon my shoulders. Do I want such a responsibility? Is it fair to ask one girl to carry such a burden? But I have no choice, and truthfully, I do enjoy the fighting. There is nothing like vanquishing an enemy, nothing like defeating true evil again and again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next few days found Willow and Giles working tirelessly on the journals, with Buffy often hovering in the background. The three of them had found an easy camaraderie again and despite still suffering from lack of sleep, Buffy almost felt like her old self. Oz, Xander, and Cordelia stopped by frequently to keep up on other research, bringing a steady supply of snacks with them. Things were back to normal. What passed for normal on the Hellmouth, anyway.

Anne's experiences struck a chord with the Slayer, bringing back memories of her first days after being called. She understood completely the conflicting feelings that the girl described. There were times when she hated being the Slayer with every fiber of her being. And then there were times when it was so much a part of her that she couldn't imagine being anything else.

Spike was one of the reasons that she sometimes hated slaying, especially since she was becoming more convinced with each passing day that he had a soul. And if he had a soul, then it was likely that others did too, possibly all of them. *Well, humans have a soul and they commit horrible crimes every day. Evil is evil and should be punished, right?* Vampires still preyed on humans, still killed when they fed. Soul or not, she had to stop them. All of them except Spike, damn it.

Willow had asked how she felt about Spike feeding. It was a valid question, and one that she wasn't quite sure how to answer. It made her angry, especially in the first days of their relationship, when she was positive that he was draining his victims. More than angry- furious at being helpless to stop him. No, not helpless. Unwilling. She had pretended not to notice his flushed cheeks and beating heart. His hyper mood and glassy eyes. Pretended that she hadn't let someone die.

For the past month though, things had been different. There had been less bodies, and no real trail leading to Spike. She was willing to bet that he hadn't killed in weeks. He would never tell her himself, but she knew. She also knew that this change in his feeding pattern bothered him...made him feel like less of a vampire. Eventually, she'd have to tell him about her suspicions regarding his soul. Somehow, she didn't think that he was going to be thrilled by the news. 'If' he even believed her.


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


From the Diary of Lucien Aubry

18 November, 1434

Anne has surpassed my wildest expectations as a Slayer. Her fighting skills are among the best that I have ever seen and she has the uncanny ability to outwit even the most formidable of opponents. I have seen her prevail against unbeatable odds, time and time again.

She has also blossomed into the beauty that I predicted so long ago. Honey colored hair and eyes of the clearest blue- like the sky in summer. A smile so sweet that it could coax an angel down from heaven. Marie-Therese is heartbroken that she cannot betrothe her little one. The young men try to pursue Anne, but my Slayer just sends them on their way without a second thought. I am so relieved that she does not question my judgement in this. A Slayer cannot afford to be distracted by matters of the heart.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Spike..." The Slayer's breathy sigh could barely be heard as the two figures writhed together on the bed. Pale white skin against sun-kissed gold, glistening with sweat in the moonlight that shone through the window of her room. Her mother was gone again and they had been joined together for what seemed like hours- prolonging their pleasure, delaying their release- until the intensity of their passion nearly ignited the air.

"Slayer...love..." *MY Slayer, MY love...everywhere...she's everywhere...* A low, rumbling growl joining the higher pitched cries, his wet mouth against her neck. *Deep, so deep- Christ, I'm burning- so very hot...*

Her hands in his hair, urging him to move faster, thrust harder- *Lost, I'm lost...I can't...there's only him...nothing else...*

"Please...Spike...I want...I want..." Building, building- how could anything climb this high? So intense- fire, ice, heat, cold, soft, hard- feeling him pressing against her upper wall- shaking, shuddering, "Now, Spike...now, now, now..." Head thrashing on the pillow, his hands everywhere- *Need...I need...oh god...too much...*

Slipping and sliding...so slick, so wet...so warm. His tongue tracing the vein in her throat, feeling the blood rush to the surface as if he'd called it. *Just a taste...just...* Warm, coppery, sweet...lights going off inside his head. *Christ!...touch...feel...taste...lights...the lights...exploding...I'm...* "BUFFFYYYY!!!!!!!!"

Screaming...blood screaming to work its will...the Slayer screaming his name...screaming her pleasure, tightening around him like a vise.

*YESSS...NOOO...God, I can't stop...it's too..."SPIIIIIKKKE!!!!!"

Swelling...throbbing...*He's coming, oh it feels so good...don't stop...never stop...I love you...Spike...* Vibrating, like a live wire, on and on, gasping for air, heart pounding relentlessly in her chest. His cool tongue lapping at her throat, soothing...both of their bodies trembling uncontrollably.

Singing...her blood was singing in his veins...so sweet...making his dead heart beat with renewed life. Spike rolled, bringing her above him, wrapping his arms around her possessively. *I'll never let you go...never...*

Buffy looked into the twilight blue of his eyes, and she could hear him inside her head, feel him in every pore of her skin as she answered, *I don't want you to, ever...*

Their thoughts mingling as one...*Tu es le mien...tu es tout a moi...you're mine...you're everything to me...*

Her breath coming in gasps, Buffy gazed down at him in wonder. "Spike? Did you...did you feel that?"

"I did, love." He brought her head down for a lingering kiss. "Could feel 'you'...inside my head...inside 'me'," he murmured against her lips. "Your blood...you even tasted different."

She pulled back and looked at him. "I did? Different, how?"

Spike rolled them again until she was lying half under him. "I don't know, luv...just...different," he said, nuzzling her neck. "Sweeter, maybe?" His lips grazed just under her ear. "Didn't think it was possible for you to taste any more delicious...so good...you tasted so bloody good...like nothing else..."

Buffy gave a sigh of contentment, letting her fingers dance over his shoulder and down across his chest. "I could hear you...how did we do that?" She shivered as he tugged on her earlobe with his teeth. "What do you think it means?"

"I have no idea, pet." It was the Watcher's job to analyze things. Spike didn't give a flying fuck about the whys and wherefores- all that mattered was how it felt. "I only know that I'm not letting you out of this bed until your mum comes back on Sunday."

It sounded wonderful to her, but- "Sunday...it doesn't seem far enough away, does it?" she asked, wistfully.

"No, baby...it doesn't," he replied, kissing her. Already dreading her mum's return. *Don't think about it, mate. Just think about how you're going to spend the next twenty-four hours...in heaven.* His own private heaven...the only kind that would accept a demon like him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Journal of Anne LeMaire

6 March, 1435

I killed seven vampires tonight- SEVEN! I am exhausted, but I feel wonderful. When the local clan hears of this, the rest of the vampires will think again before hunting in my city. I purposely let one of them go free, so that word would reach the ear of the current Master, Guillaume. I have not met him, but I have made certain to obtain information from my victims before I dispatched them.

He has not been in the city long, but he is not a stranger to this region. The vampires that I questioned said that he followed Jehanne's army for a time, spying against the Burgundians for her, and that he was in Rouen during her execution. I find it difficult to believe that a demon would aid a servant of God. It is most likely that he only followed the army in order to feed like a scavenger on the bodies of the wounded, as is the wont of most creatures of the night.

I am certain that he is as hideous as the rest. Most of them never bother to hide behind their human facades and it only makes my desire to kill them even stronger. Oncle Lucien says that the Council is quite pleased with my efforts. The Council. They are always so mysterious, and quite truthfully, they frighten me. ME, the Slayer, who fears little! Perhaps it is because they hold so much power over us- telling us nothing, letting us go blindly into battle time and time again.

Oncle reveals little of his dealings with them, only saying that I should not concern myself with such matters. How he angers me sometimes, with his overbearing manner. Tante Marie-Therese pays no attention to matters concerning my slaying. She pretends that we are like any other family and I know that she would like nothing more than to see me betrothed. She does not understand that I have no time for such foolishness. And the boys who come sniffing like dogs are just that...boys. I would not marry them even if my duties did not prevent it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Giles looked up from his work and gave an exasperated sigh. "Where is Buffy? Willow, haven't you heard from her?" He had tried earlier and had only gotten that blasted answering machine.

She needed to train and he needed to inform her about a possible ghoul sighting. Ghouls were nasty creatures whose eating habits tended to escalate from merely raiding fresh graves to seeking out live victims. Buffy couldn't afford to shirk her duty at a time like this. "Would you try to phone her again, please?"

"Sure." Willow sighed and went into Giles' office, shutting the door behind her. She knew why he hadn't been able to reach the Slayer and the last thing she wanted to do was interrupt whatever it was that they were doing.

Quickly dialing the phone, she tried not to imagine the scene in Buffy's bedroom.

The machine answered, just as she knew it would. "C'mon Buffy, pick up, I know you're there," she hissed into the receiver. She was about to hang up when she heard a breathless, "Hello? Willow?"

In the background she heard a male voice whining, "Bloody hell, Slayer...I told you not to answer!"

Buffy laughed. "Shut up, Spike! This will only take a minute." More giggling and then, "Sorry Will, what's up?"

"I am," Willow heard in the background again, low and husky, closer to the receiver. *ICK!* she thought, wondering why she was stuck doing this.

Buffy gave a tiny gasp and then moaned. "Spike, behave! Let me talk to Willow." Willow heard a grumbling answer that sounded suspiciously like an obscenity. "I'm sorry, Will. You were trying to say?"

"Buffy, Giles is all wiggy 'cos you're not here. What am I supposed to tell him?"

"Tell him I'm resting. He said I looked tired yesterday, so he'll just think that I'm catching up on my sleep." Definite snickering in the background.

*Why me?* "Buffy, you know that resting is 'not' what you're doing over there. And I'm not sure it's healthy to be doing so much of- well, whatever it is you're doing. It can't be good for you." She knew that she sounded like a prude, but right now, she didn't much care.

The Slayer's laughter rang out over the line. "Don't worry, Willow. It's 'very' good for me." She gave a squeal. "It's...uh...great...exercise...and...it does...wonders...for the...complexion."

Willow closed her eyes and began listing chemistry tables, to try to block the images from her head. "Buffy-"

"Just...tell him...I'll be in...tomorrow. Whatever...it is...can wait...'til then. Bye!" A rumbling chuckle and then the line went dead.

Willow stared in disbelief at the phone. *She knows I can't lie, why is she making me do this?* She hung up the phone and nervously tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. *Why did I have to find out about them? Why couldn't I just live in blissful ignorance?*

Muttering a couple of un-Willow like words under her breath, she headed for the main room, trying to prepare herself for lying to Giles with a straight face.


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


"You're so bad," Buffy said, gasping as she hung up the phone. *So good...Oh god, there...yes...there...*

Spike raised his head from between her legs and grinned. "But you love me anyway." He planted soft kisses along her thigh. "Don't you?"

"Yeesss." She gave a small cry of frustration. "Tell me again why?" Her hands twisted in his short hair, trying to force him back to her aching center. His tongue dipped and swirled against her flesh, traveling up her body, instead of down. Over her ribcage, around the curve of her breast, hovering over one erect nipple.

"Because..." Lick. "I have..." Suck. "the biggest..." Bite. "co- "

Buffy yanked his head up and kissed him fiercely, flipping them both over so that she straddled his stomach. Spike groaned as her wet pussy came in contact with his skin. *I should know better than to tease the wench. Now I'm bloody well done for.* He met her smoldering gaze with one of his own and his cock twitched in anticipation of her revenge.

Soft kisses rained down across his chest- light as a feather's touch, sending tingles down his spine. A warm tongue circled his nipple, turning his moan into a gasp as her teeth bit down sharply. She repeated the action on the other side, contrasting the delicious feeling of her tongue with the painful one of her teeth, until he was writhing helplessly beneath her.

"It wasn't nice of you to embarrass Willow like that..." Another bite, this time at the base of his throat. "Maybe you should be punished..."

He ran his hands up the length of her body. "Maybe I should...ah...bloody hell, Slayer! Bite a little harder, why don't you?" An answering tug on his earlobe almost made him squeal. "Tongue lashing...I...need...a good..."

He felt her laugh softly against his neck and then she shifted, rubbing her wetness along the length of his throbbing hard-on. *Oh fuck...just like that, Slayer...yeah...so wet...*

"Did you say tongue lashing?" she murmured, letting her mouth drift back down over his chest, her tongue flicking intermittently at the muscles jumping under the skin. Buffy let her fingers dance along the ticklish spot above his hip, giggling as he squirmed and growled. She loved him like this- aroused and playful- completely at her mercy. Sliding down between his legs, she caught his gaze and held it as she licked the head of his cock, lightly sucking the fluid from the tip.

Spike's head flew back and his body arched as her tongue ran itself under the ridge and down his shaft. She teased the veins that throbbed and pulsed, one hand cupping his heavy sac, lightly squeezing him, while the other tangled in his pubic hair.

"Slayer...take me in your mouth, love...please..." He was whining and pleading and he hated it, but- *Sweet, bloody Christ*- she always knew just how to get him to beg. He'd never begged for anything in his life- undead or otherwise- until he'd met her.

Buffy nipped at him lightly before easing her lips down over his rock hard member. "Mmmmm..." She let him slide all the way into her mouth and back out again. "I love the way you taste..." She took him in her mouth again and felt him pulsate once, releasing a small amount of semen. Smiling around him, she began bobbing her head up and down in a steady rhythm while her tongue continued rubbing against the length of his shaft.

Spike had the sheets in a deathgrip as he bucked wildly into her mouth. She took him deep into her throat several times, pulling all the way back and then sinking down on him slowly. Her fingers stroked and scratched at his thighs, then lightly rubbed at the spot beneath his sac, driving him out of his mind with her teasing. She let her hands slide up to grip him at the base of his cock, pumping as her mouth engulfed him. *So warm, so very fucking warm, so close...I'm...*

"...Coming, fuck, love, don't stop, don't stop..." he babbled, exploding suddenly as her tongue pressed against the sensitive spot just under his opening. He pulsed again and again, flooding her mouth with his seed.

Buffy continued sucking as she swallowed, running her tongue over him one last time before letting him slip from her mouth. She kissed her way up his stomach and over his chest until she reached his mouth, then ran her tongue across his lower lip.

Spike slid his hand through her hair and pulled her head down for a bruising kiss, sliding his tongue into her mouth as his other hand wrapped around her waist. He flipped her onto her back, and stared down into her flushed face.

"If that was punishment, pet, I'll have to misbehave more often." He brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes. "You're fucking incredible, Slayer." His hand drifted down to her breast, fingers tracing its curve before lightly rubbing her nipple with his thumb. She arched and moaned, pressing herself against him as he brushed his lips over her throat, teasing with his tongue.

"Spike..."

"As I recall, you weren't very nice to Willow either, hanging up on her and all." His lips traveled over her collarbone and lower, stopping to tug on her pert nipples. She gasped as he bit her gently, then sucked one tender nub into his mouth. Spike grinned up at her. "I think a good tongue lashing is in order for you, as well, pet..."


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


Willow somehow managed to lie to Giles without repercussion, and settled herself at the table once again with Anne's journal. It wasn't long before she came to the entries that finally revealed Anne's secret.

~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Journal of Anne LeMaire

20 March, 1435

I have finally come face to face with the Master, Guillaume. I encountered him while out hunting, just outside the city walls. To my surprise, he was alone, and there were no signs of any minions lurking about.

He wore his human face. I was unprepared for- he was- I have never seen a more handsome man. No, he is not a man. But how can a such a creature be so beautiful? Not overly tall, with dark wavy hair and eyes of the deepest blue. Perfectly formed lips, slightly full on the bottom and impossibly high cheekbones. He moved as a cat does- graceful and arrogant- like a panther from one of Oncle's books.

We greeted each other the way adversaries do- cautious, wary- circling as we took each other's measure. He said that he would have me begging him for my life and I laughed. I told him that it was not my nature and that it would be a painful end for him. I told him that he should have chosen another city in which to rule. He replied that such a young girl was not much of a threat to him. And then, we fought.

I have never encountered such a fighter as he- so quick, so strong- able to parry every blow that I rendered. He is my match in both strength and skill, and we fought long and hard, throwing taunts and ripostes with every attack. Every time I tried to impale him, he managed to disarm me. He somehow cornered me, and it was only through superhuman effort that I was able to draw my last stake and point it at his chest. Guillaume quickly backed away, ending the fight before either of us could succeed in killing the other. He said that he would see me again, of which I have no doubt.

I am not sure if I should tell Oncle Lucien about this. He will only criticize me for not staking the Master when I had the chance. No, I shall keep this to myself for now. There will be time enough for telling Oncle later, when I send Guillaume to hell, where he belongs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2 April, 1435

I have encountered Guillaume several times now, always alone and outside the city walls. Each time is the same- we exchange unpleasantries and then fight- always to a draw. I do not know why, but neither of us seems able to kill the other.

I am not sure that I should admit this, but I enjoy fighting with him. I feel so alive, so full of fire when I am with him. No other vampire challenges me as he does, and his mind is as quick as his fists. I do believe that he enjoys our banter as well, and that he finds me a worthy opponent in battle. I still have not told Oncle that I have met Guillaume.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

10 April, 1435

I do not know what to do. Something happened tonight- something wonderful...and awful.

I met Guillaume as usual and we began to fight. I could tell that he had just fed and it angered me, making me fight all the harder. Guillaume fought back just as hard, with an intensity in his eyes that I had not seen before, and suddenly, his arms were around me and his lips were on mine- fierce, demanding- a kiss like no other, cold and hot at the same time. I have been kissed before- Louis and Jacques both made fumbling attempts before I pushed them away- but never have I felt anything like this. Never have I felt such passion.

We both pulled away and just stared at each other in stunned disbelief. We are sworn enemies, how could there be desire between us? I turned and ran before he could say anything. What am I to do? What will happen when we see each other again? I am afraid of what I am feeling. I do not want to feel this- this desire for my adversary. I cannot feel this way, it is

forbidden.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

17 April, 1435

It is no use. I cannot stop thinking about him, remembering the feeling of his mouth on mine. I must go to him, find out if he is feeling this, too. Am I insane? He is a vampire, undead. A monster. That is what I tell myself, but my heart will not listen. It beats faster at just the thought of him. I shall tell him that he must leave Rouen. It is the only answer.

~~~~~~~~

20 April, 1435

I am lost, my soul forever damned. I went to Guillaume, to try to convince him to leave. I thought that he would agree with me, for our only other solution is to kill one another, and neither of us seems able to do that. He said that he would not leave, he could not leave, and then...he kissed me again.

It was even more passionate than the first, and God help me, I returned his kiss shamelessly. I tried to tell myself that it was wrong, but it felt so wonderful. Before I knew what was happening, he had lowered me to the ground and removed my clothes. I could not refuse, it was as if I had no will.

He kissed me everywhere, touched me everywhere, until my body was aching with need. And when he entered me, it was the sweetest pain that I have ever felt. He moved within me, pleasure mingling with the pain, and I began to meet his thrusts wantonly with my own. He sank his fangs into my throat and I could feel him flowing inside me, could feel him touch my soul with his essence. I trembled and cried at the rapture of it, fearful that I was dying as my heart pounded so.

Afterward, Guillaume held me and licked at the wound on my neck. He said that I belonged to him now, that nothing would take me from him. What have I done? How could I have fallen in love with a demon? How is a demon able to love me? Have I forsaken all that I am by loving him?

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Continued