Secrets & Lies


by: Lynn
Continuation of The Chains Series



The mansion loomed in front of her, dark and foreboding, despite the glare of the late morning sun. Buffy tried and failed to keep her legs from trembling as she made her way to the heavy door. She paused just outside it, raising one hand to press against the etched wood. Spike was inside, most likely sleeping, completely unaware of her presence. Her head fell forward until it touched the door and she took a deep shuddering breath, trying to gather her courage.

*Just open the door and go inside...*

Yesterday she'd been so determined in the face of Giles' anger, but now that she was actually here, she was terrified. Terrified that she would take one look at him and forget why she came. Terrified that she would lay her heart bare only to have it crushed beneath his boot-heel. Terrified that it was truly over between them, with no hope for reconciliation.

But there was too much at stake to not even try. She was pregnant with his child, and telling him was the right thing to do- the only thing to do. And she needed him, now more than ever before. She had to give him a chance, had to give 'them' a chance, even if it meant going down in flames.

*Stop being such a fucking wuss, Summers, and open the goddamn door...*

She grabbed the ornate handle and twisted it before she could change her mind. The door swung open easily and she stepped inside, into the waiting gloom. The welcoming silence was absolute; not even the sounds of passing cars or chirping birds penetrated the mansion's interior. She pulled a stake from her bag and glanced around the main hall, noticing a small stack of broken furniture that had been shoved into a corner. For a brief moment, the sounds of Spike's destruction came back to her, making her hesitate once again.

With a small noise of disgust at yet another display of weakness, she stiffened her spine and moved purposefully across the floor. She passed through each of the downstairs rooms, stake gripped tightly in her fist as she searched for any sign of conscious vampires. Finding nothing except for a few empty liquor bottles and several piles of shattered glass and splintered wood, she headed for the sweeping staircase at the rear of the house.

As she climbed the stairs, Buffy thought about her brief stop at the library before coming to the mansion. She had expected Giles to still be angry with her, for him to retreat into that cool, British reserve that surfaced when he was hurt, or upset. Instead, he'd greeted her with a smile, a real smile that said he was glad to see her. He had handed her the latest entries from Lucien's diary and then paced worriedly as she'd read the callous words with growing horror.

The papers had crumpled between her hands as she'd turned to face him. "Giles?" She could hear the desperation in her voice. "Is- is this really how the Council thinks of us? Slayers aren't supposed to feel anything...we're not supposed to love?" Tears had filled her eyes at the thought. "It's true, isn't it? As far as the Council is concerned, we're just trained animals, slaying machines...and if one of us dies, well then, there's always another to take her place, right?" She gave a sound that was somewhere between a laugh and a sob.

"Buffy-" Giles had looked at her helplessly. At the expression on his face, her heart had plummeted. Did he feel like that? Was his reaction to her pregnancy the same as Lucien's had been?

"Giles...tell me that this isn't you." She shook the papers in her hand. "Tell me that you don't feel this way...about me."

His hands had grasped her upper arms in a nearly painful grip. "Don't even think that for one second! I could never think that way about you...no matter what you had done. Yes, I was angry yesterday- you lied to me, for months. But more than anything I was hurt that you hadn't trusted me, after everything we've been through. Don't you realize how much you mean to me? You are the most important person in my life, and don't you ever forget that," he said fiercely.

Buffy remembered the feeling of utter relief that had come over her. Relief and a surge of love for the Watcher who had guided her through the darkest of times. She'd buried her face in his chest and cried, but this time they were cleansing tears, instead of sorrowful ones. Giles had held her and listened as she apologized for deceiving him, murmuring words of forgiveness as he'd stroked her hair. In his arms she found a peace that she hadn't felt in weeks, and thinking of it now gave her a renewed sense of courage.

The second floor hallway stretched before her, dimly lit by the dozen sconces that graced its walls. At first glance, they appeared to hold candles, but on closer inspection, Buffy could see tiny lightbulbs, instead of flickering flames.

She entered the first room at the top of the stairs and wrinkled her nose in disgust. Whoever had slept there had been a pig of the first order, leaving behind dirty clothes and half-empty pizza boxes. The stench nearly caused her stomach to heave and she quickly backed out of the room and shut the door.

Taking a deep breath, she continued her search, her heart pounding as she tried each door. She could feel her spine tingling in that familiar way, letting her know that Spike was nearby. What would she say when she found him? How would she even begin? And would he even listen to a single word?

Finally, she came to the end of the hall. There were three doors left, one of them appearing to be an elevator. She reached out a trembling hand and grasped the doorknob to her right. Counting slowly to three, she turned it and stepped inside the room.

Spike had fallen asleep and left a small lamp burning; its glow giving off just enough illumination in the room for Buffy to make out the form stretched out on the large, four poster bed. She let the stake fall from nerveless fingers as she walked across the floor, ignoring everything else except the sight of alabaster skin against midnight blue sheets.

He was lying on his stomach, arms wrapped around the pillow, hugging it to him. All of the breath left her body as she stared at planes of his face, softened in sleep. Dark, dark lashes contrasted with pale skin, his eyes moving restlessly beneath the closed lids. He looked young, almost vulnerable in this state, free of the defenses he'd so carefully erected over the past two hundred years.

She continued her perusal, content for the moment to just watch him slumber. His hair was slightly longer, darker at the roots and beginning to curl at the nape of his neck. Buffy's fingers itched to touch him, to thread themselves through the locks that were always softer than they appeared. Her hands clenched into fists, fingernails digging into her palms as her eyes drifted downward, over his wiry frame.

The muscles in his back and shoulders moved slightly as he shifted in his sleep, curling around the pillow that he held tightly in his grip. The sheet slipped lower, just barely covering his hip and the curve of one buttock. The sight of him, so familiar and impossibly beautiful, was almost painful, bringing with it the sudden sting of tears to her eyes. Her breath hitched in her throat as he murmured, "Restez avec moi, ne retournez pas ce soir. Laissez-moi vous prendre loin d'ici."

Spike was dreaming, about her- them- the Slayers, past and present. He was lying with his head on Anne's stomach, a feeling of intense possessiveness encompassing his entire being. He would do anything to keep her with him...anything. Her fingers moved through his hair in a steady motion and she was saying something that he couldn't quite make out. He was too busy listening to the strange sound beneath his ear- a fast chugging, almost like a train. It was so faint that he had to strain to hear it and in his dream state he didn't even think to question what it was. It didn't matter, all that mattered was this feeling of contentment. In that moment, he knew that he'd kill anyone who tried to separate them.

Anne's face faded into Buffy's, and as the Slayer's scent washed over him, a soft moan escaped his lips. "Buffy..." The dream was vivid, so bloody vivid that he could swear she was right in the room. His cock twitched and hardened against his thigh, rising as if to search for the soft flesh that it had been denied for so long. He could smell her, hear the blood rushing through her veins... Real, it was all too fucking real...

At the sound of her name, Buffy let out a soft cry and moved closer. "Spike?" She crouched by the bed and reached out to touch his shoulder, only to pull back with a startled gasp as yellow, unfocused eyes met hers. "Spike, are you awake?" she asked softly.

It wasn't a dream. The Slayer was here, in his room, next to his bed. Spike closed his eyes and sat up, rubbing his face with his hands. Christ, he bloody well wasn't prepared for this. Even as he felt his heart soar, the rest of him began to close down in self-defense. Averting his gaze, he pushed the sheet aside and stood up, reaching for the jeans he'd discarded earlier. He kept his body angled away from her, trying to hide its automatic response to her presence. "What are you doing here?" he asked warily.

His voice was cold - emotionless - but Buffy hadn't expected his greeting to be warm. She watched as he tugged the jeans up over his hips and reached for his tee shirt. "I need to talk to you," she began. "Willow found something in Anne's journal, something important- "

"What does that have to do with me?" Spike interrupted. Of course she wouldn't have come just because she'd missed him. No declaration of undying love here, just more fucked up shit from the Hellmouth.

He pulled the shirt over his head and turned, looking her in the face for the first time. His eyes widened in shock at her appearance. "Christ, Slayer- you look like shit!" he blurted out before he could help himself.

Buffy knew that it was true, but his words still stung. She tried to cover the hurt with sarcasm. "Gee, Spike, rude much? I see Cordelia's been giving you lessons in tact."

Spike ignored her, appalled at the paleness of her skin. She looked as if she hadn't seen the sun in days, and judging by the purple shadows rimming her eyes, she hadn't slept in just as long either. The clothing that had once clung to every luscious curve of her body now hung, shapeless, on her too thin frame.

"I mean it, Slayer- what the fuck have you done to yourself?" He couldn't believe that this was the same vibrant girl who had haunted his dreams night after night.

Buffy tried to tamp down the hysterical giggle that threatened to erupt. *What have 'I' done? Holy cow, Batman, if you only knew just how much of a joint effort it took to make me look this way!* She forced herself to shrug and answer casually, "I was sick. Willow said she told you."

Her apparent composure made him want to shake her until her teeth rattled. He also wanted to kiss her until she couldn't breathe and fuck her until she couldn't see. How could she stand there as if nothing had happened? As if she hadn't been ripped apart in the past few weeks the way that he had? Had she ever really loved him? He wasn't about to let his guard down enough to find out.

"Yeah, she mentioned it." He turned away from her and began picking up the tequila bottles that littered the floor, searching for one that still had some life left in it. "You're better now?" he asked in a neutral voice, tossing the empties aside in frustration. A cigarette, he needed a cigarette.

"I'm getting there. Obviously, I don't look it." He didn't look that great himself. He was thinner, his cheekbones more prominent. His hair had grown out a little, in desperate need of bleaching. He looked tired...haggard, almost. It took every bit of strength to keep from breaking down and flinging herself in his arms. The tension between them was palpable, and Buffy swallowed, hoping for some sign that he still cared. His face was a mask; not a flicker of emotion showed in the pale blue eyes.

Why was she here? He walked over to the nightstand and yanked opened the drawer, tearing through the various papers and other assorted crap, looking for a smoke. He found a pack and snatched it up, then crumpled it in disgust when he saw that it was empty. Spike could feel his nerves jumping under his skin and wondered how much longer he could stand here and not touch her. "You were saying something about a bloody journal?" he prompted, dragging restless hands through his hair.

Buffy removed the pages from her bag and took a deep breath. "These are the latest entries that Willow translated. Anne fell in love with a Master vampire- Guillaume. After they started sleeping together, he stopped killing, and Anne became convinced that he still had his soul." Spike's head jerked up and he looked at her with narrowed eyes. "I- I think that she was right, that a vampire's soul doesn't leave when the demon moves in. And if that's true, then that would mean...it would mean that you still have yours...too."

Spike stared at her for a moment, then burst out laughing. "You can't be serious! There's no way in bloody hell that I still have my soul. I've been a demon for nearly two centuries, Slayer, and nothing is going to change that, especially not the fantasies of some girl who's been dead for five hundred years."

"There's more to it than that, Spike. If you'll just listen for a minute-" she tried.

"No, I'm not going to listen to this shit. Don't you dare try to turn me into Angel just because you feel guilty for fucking a demon," he hissed.

Buffy gasped. "Is that what you think? That I still want Angel after all this time?"

"It's true, isn't it? You've never really gotten over that sick fuck, and now you've latched onto this delusion as a way to have Soulboy back."

"Don't try to make this about Angel, this has nothing to do with him, nothing at all! Angel's dead- I killed him, remember? I love 'you', I never 'stopped' loving you...you asshole!" Tears of anger sprang to her eyes as she stared up at him, daring him to piss her off further.

"You love me? That's a crock, you don't even trust me!" He could feel the rage starting to bubble beneath the surface, enticing his demon to come out and play. His hands itched to circle her neck, and at the same time they wanted to strip the clothing from her body and toss her on the bed. A low growl emanated from his throat as he began to pace in agitation.

"I tried to tell you I was sorry, but you wouldn't listen!" she cried. "I was wrong, Spike- I know that. I just- it was bad enough when Angel killed Jenny, but Oz was one of 'us'. I couldn't think when I heard he was dead, I only reacted. When I accused you, I knew deep down that you wouldn't- couldn't - kill him, but I couldn't help myself." She took a tentative step toward him. "I'd give anything to take it back, Spike. Anything."

Spike shook his head and backed away. "What about now? You say you're sorry, but how do I know you mean it?"

"I'm here, aren't I? The last time I saw you, you wanted to hurt me," she said softly. "I couldn't slay a fly right now...you could kill me...and I wouldn't be able to stop you."

He nodded in acknowledgment. It was true, she did look weak. It had to have taken trust on her part to come here not knowing how he'd react, especially after his display during her last visit. He wanted to believe her, he really did. There was no denying that the last few weeks had been pure hell, on her, apparently, as well as him. If they could somehow manage to get past all this...

But then, what was this crap about him having a soul?

"All right, so you trust me. But I don't have a soul, Slayer, so you can just get that idea right out of your head," he told her.

"I can't do that, not when I believe it's true. I've wondered for weeks if it was possible, and now..."

"And now, what? Don't you think I'd know? Wouldn't other vampires know they had a soul? It's bullshit, plain bullshit!"

"Maybe not. I don't know! I think the Council buried the information, and even if the really old vampires do know, it wouldn't be in their best interests to tell anyone, would it? Just read this-" She held the papers out to him.

"I don't want to fucking read it!" Spike shouted, knocking the papers from her hand. "I don't have a bloody soul, Slayer," he added through gritted teeth. "Just drop it."

"No, I won't drop it," she insisted. "I know that it's still there, inside you. I've known it ever since you put that rose in my locker, ever since that night at the tree house. How else could I have fallen in love with you? How else could you love me?"

At her words, he lashed out in blind panic. "Whoever said I loved you?"

Buffy's face went still, and then her chin lifted defiantly. "You did," she answered calmly.

"I never-"

"Every time you kissed me," she interrupted, walking toward him, "every time you made love to me, you told me. I felt it in your touch, Spike, the same way I felt your soul."

Spike shook his head in denial. "It was just sex, nothing more."

A tiny fist caught him off guard, the perfect roundhouse sending him crashing to the floor. He rubbed his jaw and stared up at the furious blonde.

"Don't you ever say that again! It was 'not' just sex and you damn well know it!" she shouted, blinking back unshed tears. "Just because you're afraid-"

"I'm not afraid of anything," Spike lied as he grabbed a bottle of Cuervo from the floor and slowly stood up. "And you'd better step lightly, Slayer." His tone was deadly as he shook the bottle, eyeing the meager contents swirling in the bottom.

Buffy wasn't to be deterred. "Then why won't you accept the possibility that you're not just a demon?"

"All right, you think you're so smart?" He tipped the bottle and drained it, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Well then, tell me this, Miss-Know-It-All...where has this soul been for the last two hundred years?" Watching her face, he said deliberately, "Where was this soul when I was on my knees with Angelus' cock in my mouth?" He felt a perverse sense of satisfaction at the startled look in her eyes. "Where was this soul when I sat back and did nothing while Angel tortured Drusilla?"

His voice became deceptively soft for a moment. "C'mon, Buffy, tell me...Where was my FUCKING SOUL," Buffy let out a cry and ducked as he threw the bottle against the wall over her head, "WHEN I TORE MY OWN FATHER'S THROAT OUT?" He stood there, eyes filled with icy rage, chest heaving as he drew in unneeded breath.

Buffy looked at him, her face completely drained of blood. "Your...father? But- but you said..."

"I lied. It's what demons do. We're good at it- lying and murdering go hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly." He stepped closer, staring into her eyes as he continued in a low voice. "Angelus and I tracked down my errant father and we made him watch while we killed everyone in the house- my half-brother and sister, their mother and grandmother, the servants- it was a real slaughter. And then, covered in the blood of his loved ones, I walked over to him and let him get a good look at me." Spike's eyes grew distant as he remembered that night. "Emma was right, you know, we looked exactly alike. Same hair color, same fucking eyes... It was almost like killing myself when I ripped into him."

He came back to the present and pinned her again with his icy stare. "Still think my soul is in here somewhere?" he smirked, wondering why he felt such a compulsive need to shock her with the truth.

Figuring that she'd walk away in disgust, Spike got another surprise when she replied in a soft, but firm voice, "Yes, I do."

He snorted and shook his head as he walked over to the bed and sat down.

Buffy followed him. "And I'll tell you something else...I think the very fact that you're bothered by this only proves my point."

"Piss off, Slayer. You haven't proven a bloody thing. You think my soul just sat back and watched me kill thousands of people? I never once thought twice about draining someone. Just the opposite, it felt good."

Buffy chose to ignore that last, refusing to rise to the bait. "I think that when the demon moves in, it's the stronger of the two. Maybe being drained weakens the soul in some way. Most vampires probably find that it's easier to just let the demon take over completely, to just let the darker side of their personality rule their actions. No guilt, no consequences." She moved to join him on the bed, holding her breath as she sat down next to him.

When he made no objection, she continued, "I think your soul went into hiding, the way Will used to hide from Emma. With Angelus, you had no choice."

The mention of his past caused his spine to stiffen. "What about Angel's curse?" he asked tightly. "Explain how he got cursed with a soul when he already had one."

"I don't believe he was cursed with a soul. I believe he was cursed with a conscience. Spike, there are humans with souls who commit evil acts every day. The two are not mutually exclusive. The older a vampire gets, the more control he gains, right? Maybe that's just his soul reasserting itself, or the remaining part of his humanity trying to top the demon. You were able to love Drusilla for a hundred years, you don't think that's a human trait? When is the last time you killed someone?"

Spike gave her a sharp glance, then looked away. "I don't recall." He did, though. Or, he at least remembered the one who had left a mark. Lara. Was she the last? Or had there been others? If there had been, there couldn't have been many.

"C'mon, Spike. You can't remember your last full meal? Was it hours ago? Days? Weeks?"

He suddenly rose to his feet. "I don't fucking remember! It was months, all right? Two fucking months ago!"

"Spike-"

"Shut up, Slayer. Just shut the bloody fuck up. You told me your little theory, you waved your little papers around, but you have no proof that any of it is real. That other Slayer just wanted to feel better about fucking a demon, so she manufactured this fantasy about him having a soul. End of story."

Buffy closed her eyes and took a deep breath. *Now, Summers...tell him now.* She looked up at him, trying to concentrate on something beyond the pounding of her heart. "No, Spike, it's not the end of the story. There's more."

Spike groaned, clutching the sides of his head. "Slayer-"

"Anne was pregnant."

The sudden stillness in the room was deafening. Spike straightened and looked at her. "Pregnant when she met Guillaume," he stated, sure that that had to be the case.

"No, she was a virgin when she met Guillaume. He made her pregnant."

His eyes narrowed. "That's not possible."

"Oh, it's possible, it's very possible." Her hands were wringing themselves together with a force that could have crunched bone. "It happened then..." her voice dropped to a whisper, "and it's happened...now."

His face was completely still as her words sunk in. No, she couldn't be saying what he thought she was saying... He turned away from her and began to pace, not wanting to hear anymore.

Buffy stared at him, willing him to understand. "Spike? I wasn't sick with some virus. I had morning sickness."

No.

No. No. No. No. No. No... Spike shook his head. "No, it's not mi-"

Buffy jumped up and grabbed his arm, forcing him to face her. "Don't. Don't you dare even say it," she hissed. "This baby is yours, you're the only one I've been with since Angel."

"But how? Vampires can't have kids, it's common fucking knowledge!"

She pulled away and sat back down. "I don't know how. Anne thought that her blood gave Guillaume's soul strength...maybe it was strong enough to create some sort of life-force." She watched as he followed her to back to the bed. Staring up at him, she said, "You were feeding from me for weeks, you stopped killing...it's all the same. We've been dreaming about them, now it's as if we're reliving what happened."

Spike crouched down in front of her. "This can't be happening, Slayer. It's not supposed to happen, ever."

A sharp laugh escaped her lips. "If you're shocked, how the fuck do you think I feel? You're not the one who was puking her guts up day and night for two weeks."

Spike winced. "You've seen a doctor? You know for certain that you're...?"

Buffy nodded. "Yesterday. I'm definitely pregnant. So, whether or not we think it should have happened, the fact of the matter is, it has."

He was cursed. That was all there was too it. *Well, mate, stick your prick in a flame and you're bound to get burned.* Burned? He was fucking roasted, toasted and flambéed.

"Spike? Say something," Buffy pleaded. "What are we going to do? What do 'you' want to do?"

"Do?" Spike stood up. "Christ, Slayer- even when I was human I never thought about having kids, not after my fucked up childhood. Fuck! I don't even know 'how' to be human anymore! Now you're telling me I've gone and done something..."

"Something completely human? Spike, you've always been more than just a demon, you just wouldn't admit it. That part of you that helped Will to survive all those years ago is still there. It's what made me fall in love with you in the first place."

"Bloody hell," he groaned, dropping his head into his hands as he slumped back down next to her. It was all too much to take- him being soul-having, knocking up the Slayer... Which cosmic being was having a laugh at his expense now?

Probably all of them.

Buffy stared at him as he sat there, rocking back and forth slightly on the edge of the bed. She didn't know what he was thinking or feeling. She wasn't sure if she wanted to know at this point. She'd turned his unlife upside down in a matter of minutes, and even though it cut right to the bone, she decided to give him an out.

"Spike, listen. If you want to walk away, I- I'll understand." Buffy blinked back tears. "Giles can take care of me and the baby...Willow will help...we- we'll be fine."

Walk away? He'd never walked away from anything- not as a mortal, and not as a vampire. The Slayer belonged to him- she belonged 'with' him- and now that he had her back, he'd be damned if he was going to let her go.

She gasped as he turned quickly and grabbed her wrist in a painful grip. "I told you before," he growled, "I don't give up what's mine, not for any reason."

Then his lips were on hers and Buffy could only whimper as she gave herself up to the sheer force of his power. The brute strength of his arms around her, his hand tangling in her hair, those lips... Everything she'd dreamt about for the past two weeks. This was where she belonged, where she would always belong. With him.

His.

His mate, his blood, his life... His soul?

Perhaps. Did it really matter at this point?

Spike was starved for the taste of her. Even in his darkest moments of hate, he'd still hungered for the feel of her lips beneath his, her body pressed against him. He kissed her hard, losing himself in her scent as he surrendered to the inevitable. Baby or no baby, soul or no soul, he wanted her. Their fates were intertwined, for good or bad, and it was pointless to try to resist.

When breathing became an issue, he broke off the kiss and buried his face against her neck. "You're mine, Slayer...you'll always be mine," he murmured.

"Yes," she breathed. "Always." She let him tug her down to the mattress beside him, protest not even a consideration as relief flooded her. He still wanted her, after everything she'd told him. Whatever happened next - whatever turned up in the rest of the journals - they would deal with...together.

Their lips met again and Spike's fingers swiftly unbuttoned her blouse, pushing aside the material. Her full breasts spilled from the cups of her bra as he unhooked the front, brushing his thumbs across her sensitive nipples. She bit her lip at the sensation, watching his face as he stared down at her. His eyes darkened with lust as he cupped first one breast, then the other, letting their weight fill his hands.

He looked up at her and grinned. "They feel bigger." He rolled her nipples between his fingers, his smile widening as she arched her back and moaned. "I'd almost forgotten how beautiful you are."

His lips replaced his hands and Buffy clutched him to her, sliding her fingers through his hair. The gentle tugging of his teeth sent a shock of pleasure straight to her core. She could feel the moisture pooling between her thighs and tried to thrust herself up against him in an effort to relieve the pressure.

Spike raised her up so he could slip the shirt and bra from her body. He quickly unbuttoned her pants and slid them down her legs, along with her underwear. Buffy reached out and tugged on his shirt. "Now you," she whispered, eager to see him.

Together, they drew his shirt over his head and then her hands were sliding down over his chest, delighting in the feel of hard muscle beneath the cool skin. She undid the fastening on his jeans and tugged them down over his hips, her breath catching in her throat as the rest of him was revealed. She gave in to her desire to touch him, running her fingers over his abdomen and through the dark curls below before sliding up the silky skin of his shaft. Her small hand encircled him, lightly stroking until he thought he'd explode. With a groan, he stopped her, easing her back down on the bed to continue his own exploration of her body.

His lips found her skin and his tongue swirled intricate patterns as he moved downward, occasionally nipping with his blunt teeth. When he reached her stomach, he paused, pulling back to look at her. "You're so thin," he said softly. "I can see your ribs."

"I won't be thin for long," she assured him. "Before you know it, I'll be as big as a house."

He was suddenly struck by an image of her, belly rounded with his child, and from out of nowhere, the realization that he'd done the impossible filled him with a sense of male pride. The intense feeling of possessiveness from his dream came back to him then, and he lowered his mouth to her abdomen, growls of satisfaction coming from his throat as he covered it with kisses.

Buffy writhed on the bed as she felt his fingers dancing over her clitoris. She squealed as he bit lightly into her mound, then moaned when his tongue probed her slit. It swept upward, circling the tiny bud before drawing it completely into his mouth. He suckled softly, gently, feeling the spasms against his tongue as the first orgasm rippled through her. The nectar that flowed from her was as sweet as he remembered, causing his cock to throb with the need to be inside her.

Every nerve ending in Buffy's body stood at attention under Spike's skillful tongue. Its velvety roughness brought her to a quick, sharp climax, making her cry out his name as the pulsing waves rolled over her. Instead of letting her come down, Spike kept his face between her thighs, licking and nibbling at the tender flesh until the sensation became almost unbearable.

"Now, Spike...I want you now," she pleaded, aching to feel him inside her. He ran his tongue over her opening once more, then kissed his way back up her body until they were face to face. Buffy looked up into passion-filled eyes and slid her hands through his hair, pulling his mouth down to hers. His hardness pressed against her thigh as she kissed him hungrily, tasting herself on his lips.

Spike rubbed himself against her folds, groaning as his cool skin came in contact with her slick heat. *Bloody Christ, it feels so good and I'm not even inside yet.* Buffy's head fell back as he kissed his way down the slender column of her neck, answering the siren's call of her blood rushing through her veins. He nuzzled the hollow of her throat, sucking, but not breaking the skin, savoring the sweet torment of making himself wait. He felt her hand grasping him, sliding down over his shaft before guiding him to her entrance. "Are you sure it's all right, love?" he rasped near her ear. "Don't wanna hurt you..." He prayed to whatever gods would listen that it was; if they stopped now, his balls would surely implode from the pressure.

"Yes, Spike...just love me," she urged, gasping as his cock slid into her. He was so hard, so unbelievably hard as he plumbed her depths. Buffy wrapped her legs around him, pressing against the cool length of his body. His mouth on her neck was driving her crazy, and she wondered how he could stand to keep from biting her. She could feel his rumbling growl vibrating against her skin, feel him tremble with the strain of holding back his desire. As her own tension built, she realized that she didn't want him to wait. She wanted to him to give in, lose control...surrender.

Her skin burned. Like the sun's hottest rays, like all the fires of hell- she covered him in flames until he threatened to combust. He was shaking with need as he moved carefully within her, nearly undone by the almost virginal tightness of her cunt. Her scent overwhelmed him as he nuzzled behind her ear and he felt his demon edge closer to the surface, his face changing against the soft curtain of hair. *Not yet, too soon...*

"Let go...please, Spike," Buffy moaned.

"Buffy...no...not yet, love..." Of their own accord, his fangs grazed her skin.

"Drink me," she pleaded, nearing her own release. Her fingernails raked his buttocks. "Make me come again..."

Her words were all it took. With a low moan, he slid his fangs into her delicate skin, feeling his cock surge inside her as the blood flowed into his mouth. The dual explosions in his brain and balls left him momentarily blind and deaf, unable to do anything except ride the convulsive shudders of his body. All he could do was feel - feel her body stiffening beneath him, feel the hot, coppery blood sluicing into his mouth, feel her silken walls contracting around him, milking him of his apparently not-so-dead seed.

Spike's teeth penetrating her skin was all Buffy needed to send her spiraling over the edge again. She gave herself up to the sensation of being consumed, feeling an answering jolt in her womb as it received his precious fluid. The cresting waves crashed over her again and again, magnified by the suckling at her throat. The sensory onslaught was almost too much, but instead of fighting it, she let it take her, giving herself completely. Heart, mind, body, soul...

And trust.

Spike was lost in mindless pleasure. His seed flowing into her as her life poured into him. The steady beat of her heart surrounding him, her blood causing his own heart to beat in rhythm with hers. He could barely hear her whimpers and moans beyond the rushing in his ears. And above all that...

Taste.

He could taste every emotion coursing through her. Her overwhelming need, the underlying fear... and love. The love that allowed her to put her life in his hands - in his mouth - to cling to him with her last breath if he so wished it. The same love that allowed him to stop drinking before he drained her.

"I love you, Spike," came the soft whisper at his ear.

He carefully removed his fangs from her throat and licked the wound clean, feeling her tremble beneath his tongue. He'd reclaimed her as his mate, marked her once again. He was almost beyond any coherent thought at all, except for that.

Buffy couldn't imagine feeling happier than she did at that moment. She'd done it - opened herself completely to Spike - and he hadn't turned his back. The intensity of their union left little doubt that they belonged together. The tears she'd tried to hard to hold back slipped freely down her cheeks as she lay spent in his arms. Finally at peace, Buffy gave Spike a tired smile when he raised his head to look at her.

In the afterglow, she looked more beautiful than he could have imagined. And so very exhausted. Reluctantly, he slid out of her and rolled to his back, pulling her body close until she was curled up at his side. His fingers combed through her hair in a familiar, soothing pattern, lulling them both to the edge of sleep.

"I thought I'd die without you," Buffy whispered. "It felt like there wasn't enough air to breathe, like my heart would stop beating at any moment. I don't ever want to feel that way again." Her face pressed against his chest as if she wanted to burrow inside him.

"You won't have any reason to," he answered, tightening his hold on her. "I'm not letting you go, love, not ever again." "Good. Because you're stuck with me now," she smiled against his skin. Her smile faded as darker thoughts filled her head. "Spike? We still haven't finished the journals yet. We don't know what happened to Anne and Guillaume, what if-" "Shhh," he murmured, knowing what she was thinking. "We're not them. Whatever happened to them isn't going to happen to us." He was silent for a moment, then said, "I'm still not convinced about this soul business. I just can't accept that it's been there all along, without my knowing it." "Maybe part of you did know it. I've heard you refer to your demon as if it's a separate entity. I know you've always felt different from Angel and Drusilla. Maybe that's because your soul was a little bit stronger than theirs. Giles is trying to find out more. Not just about that, but about the baby, too." "The Watcher knows that I'm the father?" At her nod, he grinned ruefully. "Should I be thinking about wearing a stake-proof vest? Christ, he must have gone ballistic." "He did. But this morning he seemed better. He wants me to be happy, and he wants me to be safe. Right now his priority is finding out as much as he can about what to expect during my pregnancy." She decided not to tell Spike that Giles had advised against letting the vampire know about his impending fatherhood. She noticed that he'd gone silent again. "What are you thinking about?" she asked.

"I'm thinking that I'm still in shock." He rolled until he was perched above her stomach, grinning up at her. "But I like the idea of you waddling around, all fat and glowing..." He playfully nipped at her abdomen.

Buffy squealed. "Stop it!" She fingered the curls at the nape of his neck. "It's fine for you to talk, you're not the one who's gonna look like a beach ball." She felt him sigh against her skin as he nuzzled her bellybutton. "Spike? I- I'm scared...about the baby. What if something goes wrong? What if mixing humans and vampires is dangerous?"

Spike couldn't look at her as he voiced the obvious. "You don't have to have the baby-"

"I want to have the baby." She said it quietly, firmly, so that there was little doubt.

"Then we'll deal with whatever happens. The Watcher will just have to do his job and make sure we know what to expect." He shifted and pulled her back into his arms. "I won't let anything happen to you, Slayer. I promise."

She knew that it was a promise he couldn't keep, but hearing it was all she needed to ease her mind at the moment. She sighed and let Spike turn her on her side, feeling him press against her back like a second skin. His hand covered her stomach and the tiny life forming within, already protective of what he'd helped to create. And finally, the two of them drifted off to sleep, free of the nightmares that had plagued them during their days apart. Unaware of anything for the moment except the synchronized beating of their hearts.

************* Continued