DISCLAIMER: We know they're Joss', right? Which really is a shame, because most of the time, we're so much nicer to them than he was.
PREVIOUSLY ON BUFFY: Buffy balked at hiding on the Hellmouth, so Other!Spike agreed to hide with her elsewhere, while Giles found a spell that would wake Buffy, though it failed...

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Buffy didn’t fight Spike’s lead. Not when her foot splashed through a puddle of something that was too sticky to be water. Not when he made her slither through a stack of blackened debris that tore the front of her shirt. Not even when she heard the pounding footsteps suddenly sound behind her.

She fought when she saw the stairs looming ahead of them, nearly lost by twisted pipework and slabs of concrete.

Jerking from his circled grip, Buffy halted at the bottom of the stairs, staring aghast when he began to bound over the blockage. “Those go up,” she hissed. “More importantly, those go out.”

His face was shrouded in shadows. “They do,” he agreed. “But we’re not. You’ve trusted me this far, Slayer. Bit pointless to stop at this point.”

Her lips became a thin, white line. Stupid Spike logic.

When she didn’t move right away, he snarled in frustration and leapt back down to her side. In the distance, the walls vibrated from the force of doors being thrown open and closed. A man’s shout echoed from the dark. Buffy knew she had to make a choice quickly; the intruders were getting closer.

“Finn’s goin’ to think we’re either down here or that we’ve fled,” Spike said. He jabbed a finger back toward the stairs. “Those open into the cafeteria. The south wall’s been blown off so it’s a clean shot out toward the mall and about a thousand hidey-holes. Anybody with an iota of sense would run straight there.”

“Which means we’re not. Because you think he’d expect that.”

“I know he will. But the kitchen’s still mostly intact, and the freezer still has its door. We can lock it from the inside. Wait ‘em out.” He rolled his eyes. “And before you start whingeing about bein’ turned into a Slayer-sicle, it hasn’t had power in years. Pretty much a metal box. With shelves.”

It was taking a risk. There was no guarantee that Riley wouldn’t search the cafeteria before sending teams to check elsewhere. Locking themselves at a dead end turned them into sitting ducks if Spike was wrong.

Buffy met his even gaze. There wasn’t even a flicker.

“Let’s go,” she said.

Her climb wasn’t as graceful as his nor was it as quiet. Once, a pipe rolled out from beneath her foot, but before it could clatter to a stair below, Spike’s hand was there, snatching it from the air. He didn’t set it down, though. He brandished it as another weapon as they continued to climb.

Cool air brought a rush of goosebumps to Buffy’s exposed skin, and when she saw the sun licking its way over the jagged foundation, panic added to her heightened senses. She pushed past Spike as if to shield him from whatever light she could, but he was already slipping around the wall, following the shadows to where she remembered the kitchen had been. Buffy stepped toward him only to pivot on her heel and go back, drawing Spike to a halt as well.

“Wrong way, Slayer,” he said.

She grabbed the edge of a gritty concrete block and began to drag it across the doorway from which they’d come. “If we’re going to hide, there’s nothing wrong about a barricade.”

Spike caught on immediately, coming back to help her push. The noise seemed horrific after the hollow echoes of the basement, but Buffy didn’t dwell on it, blocking the exit as quickly as she could. She didn’t know how well they knew the high school ruins, but maybe it would be enough for the demon hybrids to think it was impossible for them to flee that way.

There were no more words or hesitations as Spike led the way to the freezer. The moment the door was locked behind them, however, Buffy sagged against the wall and slid down it, sighing loudly as she rested her head in her hands.

“If you end up being wrong, I am so kicking your ass,” she muttered.

The sound of his low chuckle surprised her, and Buffy looked up to see Spike saunter toward her, taking the bare spot on the floor at her side. It put both of them out of sight of the small window in the door; as long as they stayed put, there was a shot that even if the demons looked in, they would go unnoticed.

“You’re the one all antsy about the Hellmouth,” he replied. “You could be all comfy cozy, tucked away where Finn can’t get at you. But no, you have to go and be all ‘let’s fight, Spike’ and ‘don’t make me go there, Spike.’ You’re a bloody piece of work, you know that?”

“And oddly enough, not even close to being the worst thing you’ve ever called me.”

His thigh pressed alongside hers, familiar and comforting, and his fingertips brushed against her where he rested his hands on his legs. “Thin line, I s’pose. I’ll wager you probably drove the other me bug-shagging crazy.”

The corner of Buffy’s mouth lifted. “That bet is so safe, I’d even let Dawn make it on her life. Nobody ever got under my skin like Spike could. Or, you know. You.”

They fell into silence, the thick walls of the freezer muffling any outside sounds. Buffy couldn’t even feel the vibrations of the attacking demons any more, but the thought of going out to see if they were still there left her stomach in knots. Only the calm presence of Spike at her side kept her from getting up to peer out the small window to check to see if they were outside, see if they were approaching. Well, that, and the realization that she’d have to jump in order to see out it and she didn’t want to look even more ridiculous in front of Spike.

Buffy had no idea how long they sat like that. All she knew was that her ass was going numb. And that in the closed quarters of the broken freezer, Spike smelled miles better than the musty boxes that were stored on the shelves around the periphery.

“Wish I’d grabbed my fags,” Spike muttered out of the blue.

She glanced over. He was rolling the iron bar he’d picked up between his fingers, every once in awhile stopping to hold it as if it was a cigarette. “How long do you think we’ll have to stay in here?” she asked.

“’Til Tara comes and fetches us.”

Shock at his response drove her to her feet. His tight hand around her wrist dragged her back down.

Buffy landed with a thump across his hard thighs, jarring her pelvis and making her spine vibrate. She rocked backward, off-balance, but Spike’s arm shot around the small of her back to keep her upright.

“Let me go,” she hissed.

“Stop acting like a ninny and I’ll consider it.” His jaw was tight, the muscles twitching. “Pokin’ your head out too soon is goin’ to get it cut off,” Spike warned. “Tara’s the only one to know when they’re gone, and I’m not about to make this even easier for Finn by handing you over to him because you can’t keep your ass still for five minutes.” His grip around her tightened when she began to struggle, his fingers digging painfully into her side. “Will you bloody well stop that?”

She couldn’t get a strong enough position to break free of him, and it occurred to her that the knowledge that he wouldn’t get zapped by using force had Spike doing everything possible to keep her still. Beneath her bottom, she felt the growing line of his erection, but not even that was enough to cut through her frustration.

“This is just asking to be found,” she spluttered as she fought. “And who knows how long Tara is going to be? Does she even know where to find us? We could be stuck in here for days---.”

His mouth slamming to hers made her choke on her words. It was probably just a ploy to shut her up, like she had used on him earlier, but the familiar thrust of his tongue past her lips had Buffy forgetting all about her concerns, forgetting all about the stale freezer, forgetting all about the demon soldiers traipsing around underground in search of her. She stopped struggling in order to mold to his lean chest, her free arm sliding around his neck to keep him from pulling away, and within seconds of her response, Spike was slowing the kiss, forcing her to slow as well, deepening it into something hungrier and needier than either had previously demanded.

Her head spun. This was wrong. On so many levels. This was not her Spike and using him as a substitute wasn’t fair to either of them.

But he wanted her. There was no denying that. He could argue about blame and smoldering hate and how she was responsible for each and every second of his miserable existence since coming back to Sunnydale as much as he wanted, but Buffy knew that the prospect of fucking her could outweigh any of his other predilections, given enough encouragement.

And she wanted to encourage him. After everything, after nightmares and mourning and hopes and unfulfilled promises, she thought she deserved a chance to be selfish, an opportunity to grab a few minutes from the not so long ago past. She wanted this. She wanted Spike.

He twisted to bend her to the floor, one arm still secure around her back while the other slid between their bodies to find her aching breasts. Buffy moaned into the kiss when he flicked a thumb over a hard nipple, and she slid her hands down, fingers disappearing beneath the waistband of his jeans, to dig into the soft skin of his hips.

Spike broke from the kiss, but didn’t lift up, his teeth and tongue trailing down her jaw to the hollow of her throat. She heard his growl of hunger and seconds later felt the sharp suck of his mouth against her pulse, his cock grinding against her thigh. There were no teeth, though. Buffy didn’t know if that was because he feared reprisal should he bite her or years of conditioning to the chip, but either way, she was mildly grateful. That was one memory she didn’t need added to the arsenal to confuse things further for her. It was better to keep this as a purely physical attraction.

Her fingers twisted in his loose curls. “Don’t stop,” she whispered. If he stopped this time, Buffy was sure she was going to embarrass herself by forcing him to fuck her.

She felt each movement of his lips against her skin when he replied. “Hadn’t planned on it, pet.”

The hand on her breast trailed downward, finding the hem of her shirt and pulling it upward so that the flat expanse of her stomach was exposed. Spike left her throat to begin kissing down the slope of her breast, sucking through her top until the fabric was soaked, then continuing onward until he finally reached soft, tanned skin. The tip of his tongue found her navel and traced it almost delicately, but it was the dancing of his fingertips along her waist that had Buffy squirming in his hold.

She had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from begging for more. While there was hunger in every slide of Spike’s mouth, each stroke of lingering fingers, his deliberate attacks were the work of someone who wanted to savor every second. He had been like this more than once that year they’d been together, but the memory that stood out most vividly was the afternoon she’d sought him out when Riley was in town. Buffy had gone to Spike, needing to feel loved, and he had exceeded her demands in every which way, drawing her pleasure out before she’d finally passed out on the sarcophagus.

This was much the same. Except Buffy realized that it was this Spike’s craving for intimacy that was being satiated this time.

Her breath grew ragged, echoing against the metallic walls, as he undid her pants, his mouth never leaving the surface of her skin. She tightened her hand in his hair, fingertips contouring around the curve of his skull, and lifted her hips when he tugged to free her legs from her clothing. Tiny nibbles followed the broad sweeps of his tongue, and then his hands were on her inner thighs, spreading her legs, a thumb hooking around the elastic band of her underwear in order to expose her to his onslaught.

“Don’t think I’ve had a feast like this in years,” she heard Spike murmur. Buffy glanced down and saw him staring at her, eyes darkened with desire. “If I thought you smelled good before…”

She gasped as he bent his head and dragged his tongue over her opening, skimming over her clit before going back down again. When he lifted his head this time, his mouth and chin were glistening from her juices.

“Like honeyed fire,” he said, licking his lips clean. “Think I’m beginning to see what the attraction might have been.”

His words were a sharp reminder of their circumstances, a dash of cold water on her raging libido, but when Buffy bucked beneath him to get free, Spike’s grip clamped around her midsection, keeping her in place.

“You want to fight me?” From the tone and volume of his voice, his obvious incredulity was only outweighed by his delight. The thumb he had holding her panties out of his way suddenly jerked, and she felt the flimsy fabric come free of her hips. “What happened to ‘don’t stop,’ Slayer? You want this as much as I do.”

Though her position was awkward, Buffy pushed herself up on her elbows. “You hate me,” she reminded.

“Yeah,” he agreed. “And you know I’m not the Spike you lost. Fail to see what that has to do with either of us wanting to shag the other’s brains out.”

“If that’s all you wanted, you wouldn’t have wasted time going down on me.”

His mouth curved into a sly grin, though there was still anger glinting in his eyes. “And miss this treat?”

Without breaking away from her gaze, his head dipped, his jaw dropping almost in slow motion as he dragged his tongue between her slick folds. Buffy shivered in spite of her ever-shifting resolve, and her thighs clenched around his shoulders.

“Know nothin’ good will come of this,” he was murmuring against her skin. His tongue continued to work, sliding between her inner and outer lips as he traced her opening. “Know you’re leaving, know you wish I was someone else, know none of this is goin’ to do a bloody thing to fix what’s wrong.”

Her knees were suddenly forced wider when Spike slid back up her body, the rough edge of his zipper scratching across her bare skin. When he came level to her face again, she was transfixed by the hungry glow in his eyes, barely aware of his rapid fumbling with his jeans. His mouth was so close to hers that she could smell the scent of her pussy on his lips.

“Know all that,” Spike whispered. His body tensed over hers. “Don’t care.” With one forceful thrust, he buried his cock inside her.

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

Angel sprawled in the leather chair in the corner of Giles’ study, trying not to look obvious as he watched the Watchers search through their books for another possible solution. Spike was still up in Buffy’s room. The effects of the failed spell had left him rattled, pacing around the bed like a caged animal until Angel felt like throwing him down and chaining him up just to keep him still. Spike had even refused to leave when the others had announced the need for more research. Whatever he had seen and felt had been potent stuff, though why Spike had experienced it and he hadn’t, Angel had no idea. It was fucking annoying.

He sighed.

When it came to Buffy and Spike, Angel suspected there was a lot he wouldn’t understand.

A sudden vibration against his thigh snapped him from his dark reverie. He had long ago muted the sound on his phone, but because he needed to keep in contact with Wes, he couldn’t turn it off altogether. With a sigh, he pulled it out, hoping that when he looked at the display, he’d see a number from LA rather than Rome.

Angel frowned. It was neither. The exchange was a local one, though the caller was unidentified.

Pressing “talk,” he put the phone to his ear. “This is Angel.”

“Finally, you answer.” He sagged back into the chair at the sound of Ilona’s voice. “You make me worry, Angelus. You disappear from Rome, you disappear from the airport, you do not answer your phone. A girl could take such reactions the wrong way.”

His jaw hurt from how tightly he was clenching it. Fuck. Ilona was in London, probably to do the dirty work personally. “I’m not bringing Buffy back. She’s not some piece of property the Immortal can lay claim to, you know.”

“I know. And I did not ask you to return the Slayer.”

Her quick rebuttal made him pause. “Oh. Well, then.” The static of the line filled his ear for a moment while his thoughts raced, and he stiffened as another possibility arose. “Don’t think I’m letting him anywhere near her here, either,” he warned. “She’s safe, and she’ll stay that way while my people work on how to fix this.”

“You have little time,” Ilona said. “Perhaps twelve hours at the most. Do you think your people will find the solution you seek before it is too late?”

There was more to her carefully chosen words than she was letting on. A tendril of alarm began to wind through Angel’s gut. “What do you know that I don’t?” he asked. “If you tell me you’ve known all along how to wake her up---.”

“No, no, it is not that simple. What I know is the spell that was used on the clock.”

His conversation had garnered Giles’ attention, drawing him from the other side of the room to listen intently. At the Watcher’s frown, Angel covered the mouthpiece and said, “It’s Ilona. She says she knows the original spell. Will that help you?”

Giles considered it a moment. “It would. Of course, it would be beneficial to have the clock itself---.”

“Consider it done,” Ilona said in Angel’s ear.

He turned his attention back to the phone. “What did you say?”

“The clock. I have it. If you tell me where you are, I shall bring it to you, as well as a copy of the original spell. We can discuss my…payment afterward.”

He shouldn’t. Common sense told him it was suicide to commit to this deal. Ilona had been playing a different game from him from the start, and without the rules, Angel was flying blind. Besides, Giles was a smart man; he’d find the answer for Buffy eventually.

Angel’s eyes strayed to the ceiling.

The question was, though, would he find it in time?

His voice was clipped when he finally spoke.

“Bring it.”

 

To be continued in Chapter 17