DISCLAIMER: The characters are Joss’, of course. And the chapter titles are courtesy of Miles Davis.
PREVIOUSLY ON BUFFY: Buffy and Spike have managed to get another gris gris while Clara the seer has confirmed for the vampire that he no longer has his chip, and Anya is being held captive by Sandrine and Iris…

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

Chapter 26: Nothing Like You

“You did what?”

Even Giles flinched beneath the bite in Buffy’s tone, and the smirk rose to Spike’s lips as he leaned against the hotel room wall, watching as the Slayer stood in front of the trio sitting on the bed with hands on her hips.  It was kind of nice being on this side of her tongue for a change, he decided, and in spite of the chaos that was currently in his own head, there was no way he wasn’t going to take a moment to enjoy the irony of the show he was getting.  He’d spent too many days tied up at the hands of both men who now faced Buffy’s wrath, but couldn’t deny the twinge of guilt he felt at the cowed expression on Tara that was almost hidden behind her hair.

“I never---,” Giles started, but clicked his jaw shut when she started again.

“Never…what?  Listened to me when I said how dangerous Sandrine was?  Or heard how much power Iris has in town?  Do I need to tell you the whole cops in her back pocket story again?”

“Buff, it was a group decision---.”

“The group minus two, you mean,” she countered to Xander’s argument.  She gestured between herself and Spike.  “The two who’ve had, oh, I don’t know, actual contact with them?  You didn’t think that just maybe, we might know what we were talking about when we said stay away from Midnight?”

“I seem to recall you mentioning your own little Midnight adventure,” Xander said.  “Something involving some b?  Maybe a little e?”

“That was different.”

“Oh, because you went alone.  Sorry.  My mistake.  Here we thought we’d have safety in numbers.”  His voice dripped in sarcasm, and Spike watched as Buffy folded her arms across her chest in defiance.

“Obviously not if you managed to lose Anya in the process.  I forgot to ask.  Did you remember to bring the silver platter with you?  Or did we just decide to make Sandrine’s job that much easier without handing your girlfriend over on one this time?”

“Buffy, that was never our intention.”  Though he was striving to remain calm in the face of the arguing, it was a losing battle for Giles, his tone clipped and cold.

“No,” she conceded.  “I know that.  I just don’t understand why you would think you could take Sandrine and Iris on yourselves when you saw for your own eyes what she did to Spike last night.”

“There wasn’t going to be any taking,” said Xander.  “Just looking.  Trust me, taking was never on the agenda.”

“Was this the same agenda that the group decided on?  You know, the one Spike and I seem to have lost our memberships to?”

Brown eyes flicked to sweep with disdain over the lounging vampire.  “Since when is Spike part of the group?” he demanded.

“Since he’s the one who came to us in the first place about Willow getting kidnapped.  Since he’s the one who seems to be taking all the knocks trying to get her back.”

Xander’s harsh laughter rang through the small hotel room.  “Back?  Is that what’s happening here?  That must be why she’s currently being controlled by some psycho/ex-jambalaya vodou princess, right?  That’s a real bang-up job Spikey-boy’s doing there.  Remind me to add him to my Christmas card list.”

 “Enough!”  The single word cut through the air as Giles bolted to his feet, causing even Spike to stiffen at the wall.  “All this bickering is accomplishing nothing.  This isn’t about what’s been done or not done in regards to rescuing Willow, nor is it about who did it.  This is about what we’re going to do next.”

As he listened to the Watcher, Spike’s thoughts drifted, the blame that had circulated, even with Buffy’s deflection, simmering his mood into anger.  Like they bloody understand a thing about what’s goin’ on here, he thought viciously, and he stuffed his hands into his pockets as they instinctively balled into fists.  Done what I can and what thanks do I get?  The usual kick to the curb.  A boot in the face with not so much as a “by your leave” to soften the blow.  And they’re not even listening to their Slayer, when all she’s done is everything in her power to make this right.  Unforgiving gits.

His nails dug into his palms, and he felt a faint trickle of something viscous as he realized how tightly he was fighting the urge to lash out at the two men.  Sudden flashes of could test that chip theory on Harris’ face combined with recalled smells of blood and sweat and the crunch of bones shattering beneath his blows, making his nostrils flare as his jaw clenched.

Too close.  Too bloody close in here.

The door was yanked open under his grip, already half-open, when Buffy realized he’d moved and cut herself off in mid-sentence, turning to look at him in confusion.  “Where are you going?” she asked.

“Feel like a smoke,” he replied.  “I’ll just be outside.”

He didn’t even wait for a response, just strode into the stifling night air with the heavy door gliding silently shut behind him. The mechanics of the door cheated him of a satisfying slam, and Spike was tempted to turn around and kick the door for good measure, to let those inside know his frustration. He refrained, though, choosing instead to lash out at the metal rail that lined the walk along the second floor of the hotel. Wouldn’t do to get Buffy pissed off at him as well. She needed at least one ally she could count on in this debacle.

The cigarette was lit and in his mouth before he could think, and he took a long, luxurious drag of the filter, feeling the nicotine blaze into his lungs, crisping its edges even as it dulled the skittering of his nerves.  Carefully, he tuned out the words that were being exchanged on the other side of the door; they would only serve to enrage him further.

He could’ve done it, Spike realized.  A few more seconds of listening to them go at Buffy and he would’ve lost it, pouncing and pounding and glorying in hurting them just a fraction of what they were doing to his Slayer.  It wouldn’t have lasted, of course.  She would’ve pulled him off as soon as the first punch had landed, and then staked him when she realized that he’d done it without feeling the effects of the chip.

You’re going to have to tell her, the seer had said.  Won’t be good if she finds out some other way.

Because the Slayer is so good at separating her personal life from her professional, he thought derisively.  Wouldn’t make a difference to her if she thought I hung the bloody moon.  She thinks I’m a threat, she’ll stake me without blinking.  Hadn’t she done the same with Peaches?  Ran a sword through him to save the world and he was supposed to be the love of her life.  All souled up and white hat-like.  What makes you so different?

Don’t be a threat, was the obvious conclusion.  Don’t feed.  Don’t kill.  Don’t give her a reason to dust you.  Not like you haven’t been living that life for the past nine months anyway. 

But not by choice, he argued back.  Only because of this little piece of plastic inside my skull.  I’ve been denying what I am ever since they took my choice away.

Choices are made when doors are opened.  No matter what, though, the blood will flow.

Spike scowled as the seer’s words haunted his ears, sucking at the cigarette with an angry inhalation.  Can’t say what they bloody well mean, he groused, pacing along the cement, occasionally kicking at the dull gray with the toe of his boot.  Not even his years with Dru had made him like the cryptic gobbledygook that often sprouted from her mouth.  He’d often felt like taking her by the shoulders and shaking the words from her, hoping that she’d just say it straight instead of dancing around the issue.

Did the seer mean that the blood would flow because of him?  She’d known he was chipless when she let him into her flat; could that have been what she was referring to?  He wished he knew.  He wished he could just turn the decision over to someone else again because all of a sudden, not knowing which way to turn was giving him a bigger headache than those shocks ever did.

At least his thoughts from earlier made more sense now.  All that blood flowing around him, passing him on the streets, the imagery of Buffy’s blood coursing down his throat…it was his body’s way of telling him he could feed again.  Be what he truly was.  Stop toeing the leashed puppy line and return to his proper place in the demon world.

But did he have a proper place any more?  Truth be told, he liked being at the Slayer’s side.  And he’d already decided that his feelings for her were real, a tangible lock on the light that he’d heretofore not realized he yearned for.  Was he ready to throw all that away? 

Everyone has a choice.

The door opened then, and Spike took one last drag of his cigarette as he watched Buffy emerge, stopping to lean wearily against the wall of the hotel.  That lasted only a second before she grimaced, wiping at the beads of sweat that already sprung to her brow.

“Yuck,” she said, shaking out her arms as if they were stuck to her torso.  “I’m going to be so glad when we get out of this place.  Who would’ve thought that someplace called the Hellmouth wasn’t the hottest place on earth?”

The grin tugged at his lips, and he ducked his head so that she wouldn’t misconstrue his mirth, using the action to exhale the smoke from his lungs.  “Get everything all sorted?” he asked.  “Or do you need me to go in there and knock a few heads together?  Betcha didn’t know the boy’s head makes this frankly satisfying hollow sound when it hits the floor.”

He played it as a joke, but warily watched for her response.  Test one for the waters, Spike thought.  How’re you goin’ to take it if I actually can follow through on that promise, luv?

Either she didn’t hear it or she was choosing to ignore his comment, because Buffy only sighed, stepping to his side to lean against the railing and look out over the mostly empty parking lot.  “We’re going to go out in the morning and look around in daylight.  See if we can scrounge up any clues as to what happened with Anya.”  At his frown, she shook her head.  “Don’t worry.  No more breaking and entering for this girl.  I’m not really up to having to deal with police again.  Although if Iris shows her fangs around there, I might rethink the breaking part of that.  For some reason, I’ve got a serious jones for hurting her in severe ways.  I’m thinking dismemberment might be kind of fun.”

“What about me?  There a spot for me in that plan of yours that doesn’t involve fiery death?”

Her gaze softened and she glanced up at the remaining burns on his face.  “You should be resting anyway,” she said.  “Finish healing and I promise to take you out tomorrow night and kill some kind of nasty.”

“Crumbs.  Thanks.”  It came out more bitterly than he intended, but the reminder that he was only of use to her during the night, or that she thought that anyway, stung.

He saw the flicker of irritation in her face, but when she spoke, her words reflected none of that.  “Actually, I was kind of hoping you could help Tara with some magic stuff.  She’s staying behind to try and figure out what exactly happened with Willow and Sandrine.  And how the staff thingy actually works.  If they do happen to get both pieces, we need to know what they plan on doing with it before we can stop them.”

“Oh.”  All he could say, really.  One more conclusion he’d incorrectly jumped to.  How in hell was he supposed to know what to decide on telling her about the chip if he couldn’t even read something as simple as her plans for him?

“What did that Clara tell you after I left?” Buffy asked.  She’d been dying to ask him ever since leaving the shop, but his aloofness and then the discovery of Anya’s disappearance had prevented her from finding out before now.

Spike shrugged.  “Just a bit of warning,” he said.  “Told me not to be rash or someone would end up gettin’ hurt.”  It wasn’t really lying if he just didn’t tell her the whole story.  Clara had called him rash, and though she’d specified Buffy would be the one to get hurt, there was no reason for the Slayer to know that.  Not yet.

Her laugh surprised him.  “I could’ve told you that,” she said lightly.  “Thinking things through isn’t exactly your strong suit.”

If only she knew, Spike thought.  If only she could see just how much bloody thinking he was doin’ right then, Buffy might begin to realize that she wasn’t as knowledgeable about him as she thought.

“Did you fill Rupert in on the other that she had to say?” he asked instead, deflecting the topic of conversation from himself.

“I told him you and I were going to sit down tonight and write out what she said so that he could look at it in the morning.”  She stepped in front of him, letting her hand play with the hem of his t-shirt.  “You know, back in our room.”

“You told him that?”  His eyebrow shot up, incredulous.  “And he doesn’t have a problem with…you and me?”

She couldn’t quite meet his eyes, focusing instead on the line of skin playing with his shirt was affording her.  “OK, so maybe I didn’t phrase it exactly like that,” she confessed.  “When the issue of sleeping arrangements came up, it became painfully obvious they meant for me and Tara to share now that Anya’s not around because Xander and Giles were arguing about which one had to bunk with you.  So, I used Clara as an excuse and said it wasn’t a problem making sure you stayed out of trouble since I’d been doing it since we left Sunnydale anyway.”

“Gee, thanks, Slayer.”

She misinterpreted his tone and stepped back.  “I’m going to tell them about us,” she said.  “Just not when things are so…stressy.”  Though she was smiling, Buffy couldn’t help the feeling of unease creeping over her skin, and looked up at him quizzically.  “What’s with being so bad moody?” she asked.  “I mean, I know things aren’t great with this new development about Anya, but I thought, you know…things were better between us.”

If he kept this up, it wouldn’t make a difference if he told her or not; she’d suss it out on her own.  Enjoy what you got, mate, he thought.  Don’t try fixin’ what’s not broke.

One hand snaked forward and curled around Buffy’s waist, tugging her against him.  “Like that word,” he murmured, and slid his grip around to settle in the small of her back, gently pressing her hips against him so that she could feel his rising arousal.

“And what word’s that?”

“Us.”  He saw her eyes flicker over his shoulder at the window and jerked his head toward their own room in response to her trepidation at a public display.  “Why don’t we continue this conversation in private?” Spike said.

“Can we make a detour first?”

“For what?”

“You’ll see.”

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

He was in the bathroom, ostensibly to take a look at his wounds and clean them up if necessary, leaving her to pull their things from the various bags.  The fact that the one that had held the evening gowns Spike had bought for her had already been rummaged through did not escape Buffy’s attention, and she silently thanked the fashion gods that Anya had picked the black one to wear and not the green.  Kind of a superficial thought, she knew, considering Anya was now most likely being held hostage, but at least she was going to be a well-dressed hostage. 

Her fingers fell to the ice bucket, sifting through the already-melting cubes, watching the tiny refractions trapped within their glacial walls scatter against the white plastic of the container.  At some point, they were actually going to have to do what she told Giles they were going to, but for now, Buffy just wanted to spend some time following through on the promises Spike had made during their search.  In spite of the shift in his mood after leaving Clara’s, the touch of his hand in hers as they’d walked from Giles’ room to theirs had dispelled any doubts she might’ve had, returning her to the fantasy land of just what else the vampire could do with those ice cubes.  Just the thought of his---.

“Buffy!”

Spike’s voice cut through her reverie, and she automatically turned toward the bathroom, crossing the room in three steps only to pause as her hand hovered over the doorknob.  Silly, she scolded herself.  He wouldn’t have called you if he didn’t want you to come in.  Funny how nervous she felt about offending him all of a sudden.

She opened the door to see him standing at the sink, bare to the waist, hands braced on either side of the porcelain.  His head didn’t even turn to see her enter; his gaze remained fixed on the drain below him.

“Do me a favor and tell me what my back looks like?” he said.  His voice was tight, and she noticed then how tautly the skin was pulled over his knuckles, whiter there than anywhere else she could see.  “I’d check it out myself, but seein’ as I’m reflection-deficient…”

Buffy rushed forward.  “Why didn’t you tell me it was hurting?” she demanded.  “If you’ve opened something up, I should get…”  Her words fell away as her eyes settled on the expanse of his back.

All the burns were gone.

Tentatively, she brushed a finger over the contour of his shoulder blades, marveling at the resilience of the skin stretched over the muscles.  Not a single mark.  Like his encounter with Sandrine had never even happened.  A slide around to the front of his body showed the same unblemished marble.  The only burns---if they could even really be called that any more---were on his face, scattered across his temple and cheekbone. 

Well, at least one thing is working for me, Buffy thought with more than a sense of awe.  Spike’ll be back in the game tomorrow for sure, stronger and better than ever at this rate.

When her silence stretched into a minute, Spike let out a long sigh and loosened his hold, his shoulders falling to match the incline of his head.  “Guess that means it’s all free and clear back there,” he said.

“Gotta love that healing juice,” Buffy replied.  “Remind me in the morning to promise Tara my firstborn child for doing this.”  She took a step, expecting him to straighten, but frowned when he remained in his position.  “How do you feel?” she asked.  This should be good news.  She didn’t understand why he wasn’t happier about it.

His response was a long time coming.  “Hungry,” he finally said, though his voice was so low that the lone word was almost imperceptible.

“Oh.”  It wasn’t what she was expecting.  “You want me to heat you something up?  I think there’s a microwave---.”

“Don’t.  I’ll be…fine.”

He didn’t sound fine.  He sounded upset.

No longer worried about hurting him, her hand wrapped around his bicep, forcing him to straighten and look at her.  “Enough with the avoiding,” she said.  “Something bugged you at Clara’s and I want to know what it is.”

The gold glinting in the blue depths of his eyes took her by surprise, and she instinctively stiffened, relaxing her grip as she stepped back.  It didn’t go unnoticed, and Spike’s lip curled into a smirk.  “What’s the matter, Slayer?” he taunted, and as she watched, switched into his game face.  “Don’t tell me you forgot what I was there for a minute.”

“No, it’s just…”  She lifted her chin, refusing to bow beneath whatever had sparked this change in him.  “What’s wrong?” she demanded.  “You only go ridge-y when you’re angry.”

“Wrong.”

“What, you’re not angry?”

“It’s not the only time.”  With a sharp shake of his head, Spike’s human features returned, but the tension in his jaw lingered.  No reason to tell her it happened when he felt like he was losing control as well.  Like now.  The damn hunger.  And her blood, pumping and rich and too damn close.

Brushing past her, he went out into the main room, ignoring her step right behind him, and stalked to where the cooler sat on the dresser, yanking it open and extracting a single blood bag.  A sharp bite at the plastic cut a hole in the top and Spike poured the liquid into one of the mugs they’d taken from the house.  He had it halfway to his lips when Buffy snatched it away from him, turning toward the microwave.

“At least let me heat it,” she said.  “Why didn’t you say something?  It’s not like I’m expecting you not to eat in front of me.  I’ve seen it a million times.”

He stood behind her, the pair of them watching the mug circle in endless revolutions inside the appliance, until the bell dinged and she pulled it out to hand to him.  “Thanks,” he muttered, but was unable to meet her eyes as he gulped it down, feeling it course over his tongue, staving away the worst of the pangs even as it reminded him of what exactly he was missing.

It wasn’t usually this bad.  It had to be because of knowing he actually could, that the absence of the chip made all those dreams and fantasies now possible.  Not that he wanted to, not in the truest sense of the word.  Putting his welfare ahead of Buffy’s made him no better than those so-called friends of hers.  Ignoring what her contributions were, how hard she was trying. 

And she was.  Trying.  So hard.  Even now as she took the empty mug from his hands, disappearing into the bathroom to rinse it out like it was the most natural thing in the world.

How could he even consider doing anything that would spoil that?

He was stretched out on the bed when she came back into the room, staring up at the ceiling.  “We should probably talk,” he said.

Fuck.  Why couldn’t he just leave well enough alone?  The seer hadn’t said when he should tell her, just that he should.  Bringing it up now was like ripping off the scab of a barely healed wound.

She sat on the edge of the mattress, bare legs only inches from his side, and dropped a hand to rest gently on his shoulder.  “So talk.”

He’d asked for it.  Now what in hell was he going to say?

“Something’s tellin’ me that my hasty return to my normally good-looking self isn’t completely because of the mojo.”  He fought to return to some semblance of snarky, lightening his tone and stabilizing his nerves.  The blood had helped, fending off his hunger so that he could focus on other things.  And the change in subject would work.  It was a genuine concern and didn’t deal specifically with the issue of the chip.  Rolling onto his side, he propped his head up on his hand to look at her.  “Well, not our mojo, anyway.”

His move broke their contact.  “What’re you saying?  You think someone else is waving their magic wand around here?”

Spike shrugged.  “You got a better explanation for it?  We both know I was pretty bad off there.  And as chuffed as I get about my own prowess, even I know I can’t heal that fast.”

“But the healing spell---.”

“---helped, I’m sure, but when have you ever seen one of the witch’s spells work so well?”  When she didn’t respond right away, he went on.  “Only thing I can think of is that it has something to do with my little visitor when you were out hotcaking.”

“That Cecily?  You think she’s a witch of some sort?”

He snorted.  “Bitch is more like it,” he muttered.

“You said it wasn’t possible it was her.”

“It’s not.  She’s long dead by now.  Whoever came a-knockin’ just decided to look like her.  That seer…she said something else when I was up there.  Something about healers wearing faces of years gone by.  I think she was talkin’ about Cecily.”

Buffy’s eyes dropped then, and she began tracing the floral pattern in the bedspread, lost in thought.  “Who was this Cecily?” she finally asked, her voice low.

He didn’t want to answer but something in the pit of his stomach pulled the words from his throat.  “Someone I used to know.”

“Did you kill her?”

“No.  I…she was…”  What?  It had been so long since he’d actively thought of her.  How could he characterize her for Buffy without giving too much of himself away?  Because wouldn’t that just be too embarrassing.  The Slayer getting involved with the ex-poet?  Not bloody likely.  “…someone I knew before I was turned.  Just a girl.  No one special.”

“Special enough for you to remember her after a hundred and twenty years.”

Damn.  She had a point.  “I thought…was a little hung up on her, I guess,” he finally managed.  “But she wouldn’t…she didn’t…”

Buffy’s gaze lifted then, green gleaming as she eased herself to lie down next to him.  “She was stupid, then, is what you’re telling me,” she said softly.  Her hand came up to touch his bare chest, a feather of air tickling his skin.  “So…whoever came knew they could get to you by posing as her,” she mused.

“Yeah.”  It didn’t seem so important any more that they talk about his healing, or the chip, or its absence, or any of the other.  Not with her so near.  Not with every inch of him screaming in resonance with her heartbeat.  All he wanted was to hold her, and kiss her, and love her, until she was screaming in kind.  Fuck talking.

“And I think we can rule out Sandrine or Iris having anything to do with making you better,” Buffy continued.  Her palm was creating whorls of sensation along his chest where it skipped and fluttered, seemingly oblivious to the effect it was having on him.  “They wanted you dead last night.  Well, they wanted both of us dead.  Something tells me they’re not interested in helping you in any way.”

“Yeah.”  Rational thought was impossible, his fingers itching to curl into her flesh, to tug her on top of him, to rake along her skin until she burned as badly as he did.

“Which means we’ve got a third party involved,” she concluded.  Her breathing was starting to go ragged, hitching just ever so slightly, and he watched her golden head duck, felt her tongue flick over his hardened nipple.  “Someone we don’t know about.”

“Seems that way.”  His right hand clawed into his hair, rooting itself to his scalp, as he fought the instinct to grab her.  Only the agony of the anticipation of more stayed his touch.  “Can’t imagine…who…”

Buffy lifted her head, and he saw the ebony of her pupils swallowing the iris, a flush of desire creeping high into her cheeks.  “Did you love her?” she asked.

It took him a moment to understand who she was talking about, and then another to realize she was holding her breath while he waited for him to answer.  “Didn’t know what love was then,” he replied.  “Not really.”

“And now you do.”

“A bloke learns a lot when he hangs around for a century.”  He had to touch her then, couldn’t resist the silk of her hair as he pushed it away from her face, exposing the arch of her cheek to his fingertips.  “And then sometimes, it just takes a second.”

She was leaning forward then, and there was no way he was going to refuse the pout of her lips, capturing it between his teeth as his hand slid around the back of her neck.  Hot, and needing, and pulsing against his mouth, the intoxication of her taste eclipsed all other thoughts in his mind; only the craving of her, the necessity of having her, seemed to matter.

“Spike…” she breathed.

“What?” 

“The ice…”

“Sod the ice.”  His lips pressed harder against hers, coaxing them to part so that he could fully savor her mouth, sucking and devouring until her fingers clawed at the healed skin of his back, urging him closer. 

“Just want this to be about us,” he added when she finally broke away for air.  His arm curled around her waist, tugging her closer.  Never could be close enough, he realized, even as her pelvis found his, the outline of his erection molding to the cleft between her thighs.

His mouth nuzzled at her throat, every beat of her pulse maddening him further, sending the same tempo along the length of his cock as it ached to be released from the confines of his jeans.  All the doubts, all the questions, all the confusion, fled in the face of her embrace, and though the scent of her blood permeated the membranes of her skin, it was only a fraction of the essence that was Buffy, a swirl of copper, sweat, and a unique musk eddying to drive him mad while at the same time simplifying what had seemed so difficult.

Chip.  No chip.  Didn’t make a difference.

This was where he belonged.

He’d do whatever it took to keep it that way.

Her hands were tugging at his jeans, strong and nimble, and Spike growled as he pressed her back into the bed, catching her wrists and pinning them over her head.   Their eyes locked, and he hesitated as he searched the green depths.

“What?” Buffy asked.  “You’re stopping.  Don’t stop.”  She wriggled beneath him, but didn’t break his grip, not exerting even a fraction of the strength necessary to do so, he realized.

Letting his free hand slide between them, he deftly undid her shorts, slid his fingers inside her heat, smiling in satisfaction when she moaned at his touch.  “Say the words again, luv,” he whispered.

She squirmed, the quivering in her thighs overwhelming.  The chill of his fingers glided along her inner lips, consciously skirting any contact with her clit, but it was the pressure of his body against hers, weighing her down into the mattress that prompted her to drive his hand back.  Without breaking his hold on her, she circled him in her arms in an action that stilled his strokes.

“I’ve never known anyone like you before,” she said and saw the wonder creep into his eyes.  “I’ve never…” And she paused, the daring she’d just felt slipping from her grasp like liquid through her fingers.  Desperately, she swallowed, and braved it anyway.  “…never…loved anyone like you before,” Buffy finished.

The light that flared in his gaze disappeared from her view when his head came down, his mouth returning to hers to claim back the kisses she’d stolen previously.  Their hands fell away, pulling and tugging at their clothing as they rushed to bare themselves, never breaking away from the succor of their kissing, even when they lay naked on the bedspread, her legs lifting to wrap around his lean hips.

Spike’s hands settled on her waist as the tip of his cock brushed along the length of her slit, teasing her with the promise even as it tortured him with the wait.  So much more than he’d expected.  He’d only wanted her to admit to needing him again.  To say the other…he knew she could’ve meant it in a sexual way, but for now, he was going to believe in the literal translation of her words.  That she loved him. 

The wait became interminable for both of them, and almost by mutual consent, Spike pressed upward, guiding the length of his arousal into her wet depths, feeling her inner walls first expand and then constrict around him, sucking him in deeper and deeper until the weight of his balls rested against her.  Buffy’s fingers ran down the curve of his spine as he held himself there, and when he began the slow action of pumping in and out of her, never taking his eyes from her face, she moved her hands to his ass, guiding and holding him as it moved above her.

Each stroke carried with it its own rhythm, a unique tenor that sang through both of their bodies.  Breath after breath, beat after beat, his tempo gradually increased, his hands dancing over her curves, sliding between them to tease and taunt her nipples before joining his cock at her pussy.

When she felt his touch on her clit, Buffy bucked, forcing Spike to fight against her strength to keep her on the bed, driving himself harder and faster inside her as he increased the pressure.  Her head arched back, and just as he’d been fantasizing about it earlier, the curve of her neck bared to him in luscious glory, inviting him to taste even as he pushed both of them to their climaxes. 

Spike’s eyes fixated on the pulse point at the hollow of her throat, felt the demon inside begin to fight against his control.  It would be so easy, he thought.  He could do it and in her current state of arousal, she wouldn’t have the power to stop him.  And it would be good, he knew.

But not as good as this, whispered Reason.  And not as good as before, and hearing her voice say those surprising things to him when he least expected it, and seeing her roll her eyes when he said something that particularly annoyed her, and tasting the sweet nectar of her kisses.  That couldn’t even begin to compare.

So instead he rested his forehead to hers, feeling her sweat slick the path, and pushed her harder, their bodies aching for release even as she fought to breathe.

When she came, she screamed, clinging to his back with a fervor that ceased his strokes, locking him in place while her muscles clenched around him, driving him closer and closer to his own release than if she’d allowed him to continue.  The instant her hold eased, however, Spike resumed his thrusts, burying himself with each upward movement, pushing himself to his own orgasm with a shuddering cry that was muffled when he closed his mouth over hers.

Buffy’s hands came up to the back of his head, combing through his now-mussed curls as she kissed him back, unexpected relief that he hadn’t laughed in her face at her confession superceding the warmth of her orgasm.  “Love you,” she whispered again when he finally broke free, and was rewarded with a surprisingly shy upturn of his lips, the most gentle of nips along her jaw before his mouth settled just below her ear.

“Like those words, too,” Spike murmured.

As he slid to her side, the fluids of their bodies already beginning to dry in the chilled air of the hotel room, he felt her sigh of contentment relax her muscles as she nestled back against him, joining it with his own satisfied groan.  His nose nuzzled the loose strands of her hair, and carefully, Spike tightened his grip around her waist.

He knew he’d have to tell her about the chip one of these days.  Clara was right about that.

Just didn’t have to be right now.

 

To be continued in Chapter 27: Early Minor