DISCLAIMER: Everything but the plot is Joss'. Too bad.
PREVIOUSLY ON BUFFY: Gino and Willow have fallen asleep at Buffy and Spike’s apartment, while Anya has successfully summoned H’roven, learning more of the painting’s deadly qualities.
The catch in Giles’ voice as the demon’s announcement hung in the air was enough to capture Anya’s attention. “Don’t you dare stop!” she ordered. “No matter what you hear him say!”
“They die?” Xander’s incredulous gaze fixed on the young woman. “You didn’t say anything about death being involved.”
“That’s because I didn’t know!” She glared at H’roven. “You are one sick puppy, you know that?”
“There was a time when you would’ve rejoiced in my genius, Anyanka. Mortality has tempered you.”
“You want tempered?” Her nostrils flared, the edge of her anger barely reined. “I can give you tempered.” The flick of her wrist surprised them all, the dust scattering through the flames as it left her fingertips, settling on the captive’s flesh in a fine pale layer.
The demon’s scream tore the air, and the men watched in horrified fascination as he threw himself against the fire, ricocheting within the column, trying to stifle the pain searing his spines. “You…bitch…” he snarled as he slowed, his crimson eyes glowing even brighter.
“Well, I’m sorry if hearing my friends are going to die just because of your little oil obsession, pisses me off,” Anya retorted as evenly as she could. “So unless you can tell me something that might actually be of some use to us, I think I might use this time to work through some of my anger issues.”
As her hand slipped into the sac again, H’roven bristled. “I never said they had to die,” he rushed. “Just that that was the portal’s ultimate intent.”
“There is…another feature to the paintings,” the demon reluctantly offered. “A safety feature, you could say. In the event the owner should accidentally find him or herself pulled through the portal instead of the intended victim.”
“Now we’re getting somewhere,” Xander commented. “What is it?”
“It’s not a what,” H’roven replied. “It’s a who. Someone on the other side of the portal chosen by the owner. Not something I have anything to do with,” he stressed.
“So…what? You go up to this safety someone and say, sorry, don’t like it here, let me go home?” asked Xander. “Or is this a tap your heels together kind of place?”
The demon rolled his eyes, shaking his head as he glanced back at Anya. “Humans have such narrow perspectives,” he said. “They lack our sense of destiny.”
The armed young man regarded the steadiness of the gaze held between his girlfriend and their hostage, her eyes unblinking but unable to hide their disappointment. “What’s he talking about, Ahn? Do you know what he means?”
“He means, a life for a life. If you don’t want to die, you have to kill the safety. Isn’t that right, H’roven?”
“I’d say it’s nice to know that at least part of you remembers what it was like to be a demon,” the captive snarled, “but that would be a lie.”
“So who’s the safety?” Xander demanded.
“Doesn’t he listen?” the demon asked Anya before swivelling his head to look at the young man. “I. Don’t. Know. The owner is responsible for marking him, not me. Only Melinda knows whose death will reverse the portal of that particular painting, so if you’re interested in getting your friends back, I suggest you go hunt her down instead and leave me and my work in peace.”
“Melinda? What’s her last name? Where does she live?” An excited Xander stepped forward, brushing against the corner of the desk as he did so. At the piece of furniture’s center, a candle resting amidst a ring of small stones flickered, wobbling gently before one of the crystals fell over on its side, the tiny reverberation of its carved planes splitting the atmosphere of the room like a knife.
In a flash, the column was empty, the spined monster disappearing even as if he’d never been there, the flames licking up the containment spell to protect the trio from…nothing.
Anya whirled to face her boyfriend. “How many times during the trial runs did I say, don’t move?” she accused before glancing down Giles sitting on the floor. “You can stop chanting now. Xander lost our demon.”
“He’s rather…colourful, isn’t he?” the Watcher commented as he rose to his feet, grimacing slightly as his knees popped.
“An asshole is more like it,” she muttered, plopping down on the end of the couch, as far away from the painting as she could manage. Leaning back, she rubbed tiredly at her eyes. “But we’re still alive. That’s always a good thing.”
“And now we know how to get Buffy and Willow back,” Giles added. He stood before the picture, head tilted, chewing on the ends of his spectacles as he gazed down at it. It was risky, but they had certainly faced harder. It only meant overcoming his own fears and---.
“You’re not seriously considering going in after them.” The disbelief in Anya’s voice was only matched by that shining in her eyes. “You’ll die. You need to know who the safety is first and even then, your chances of getting there in time are almost non-existent. H’roven is very good at what he does. That’s why he can charge so much.”
“We know the safety is marked,” the Watcher replied. “And I can’t imagine it would be so difficult to find, now that we know what we’re looking for.”
“Well, my part in this whole debacle is done.” The young woman rose and marched to the front door of the apartment. “I got you your demon. I am not going on some suicide mission on the slim chance that you’ll get there in time.” With her hand on the doorknob, she looked back at the two men. “Are you coming, Xander?” No one moved, and she finally sighed in exasperation. “Fine. Be that way. I hope you’re very happy for that split second before you die.” And with that, she slammed the wooden door behind her.
The click as the bedroom door eased shut resonated through the darkness, and Spike’s hand lingered on the knob, eyes quickly adjusting to the change in light, nostrils flaring as Buffy’s scent floated back to him on a red vanilla cloud. She didn’t wait for him, only strolled almost too leisurely to the edge of the window, pulling open the drapes to allow the moonlight to come streaming into the room. It outlined her in silver, catching her golden tresses in an iridescent bath that washed him with desire, and the blond vampire could’ve sworn he saw a smile play on those delectable lips.
“I know someone whose life philosophy used to kind of bother me,” she said, turning, slowly advancing toward his position at the door. “But in hindsight, I’m beginning to think that maybe it might be appropriate...” She stopped just inches before him. “…under the right circumstances.”
“And what would that be, luv?”
Reaching up, Buffy’s index finger played with the button at the open neck of his shirt. “It’s very simple,” she murmured, and traced a path downwards, no pressure under her touch, her hand skating over the cotton surface.
“Want…” Her other hand met its mate at the waistband of his trousers, deftly unbuttoning the catch they found there before sliding the zipper down with an erotic whish.
“Take…” Spike’s cock throbbed as it sprang free from his pants, the nearness of her heat offering a promise that sent shivers over his skin. He gasped as she wrapped her fingers around the shaft, squeezing him strongly as her thumb swept over its tip, taking the drop of pre-cum that had accumulated there along with it.
“Have…” Without releasing her hold on his erection, Buffy used her free hand to shove the vampire back against the door, lunging forward to press her mouth to his, all sense of propriety or tenderness tossed aside in the wake of her passion. The kiss was bruising, a ferocious attack that had nothing to do with gentility, little connected to rational thought.
This was an explosion of long-suppressed desires, fire and ice crashing…colliding…craving…animal instincts warring for control with sabered tongues as their weapons of choice…
This was hunger struggling to be sated, tasting…devouring…consuming the other while at the same time being consumed…
This was need…
Spike’s hands came up, lean fingers entangling in the long locks of her hair, meeting her desire with his own as his tongue swept through her mouth. He moaned as Buffy tightened her grip around his cock, the world trying to tilt around him, and he fought back with his lips, biting at hers, almost chuckling out loud when the young woman matched him by biting back.
It was the rich undertones of the wine in her breath that finally yanked him from the brink. Even as he kissed her, the blond vamp felt the door of doubt open, just a crack but open nonetheless, and the questions began to peep through. In spite of his attempts to ignore them, they refused to leave, choosing to multiply instead, and it was with extreme reluctance that his hands lowered to her shoulders, pushed her away from their kiss, breaking the contact of her grip on his arousal, while holding her at arm’s length.
In the shadows of the room, Buffy’s eyes were fathomless. “What is it?” she whispered.
“You’re drunk,” Spike said. “And I don’t want this ‘til I know it’s the Slayer doin’ the asking, not the alcohol.”
“But I’m not.” She shrugged his hands away, maintaining the distance between them. “I’ll cop a plea of guilty to being tipsy, but I’m not nearly as blotto as I was the other night. Trust me, Spike. I know what I’m doing here.”
“Do you? Do you really?” He tilted his head, the moonlight bouncing off his azure eyes. “If this happens, Buffy, everything changes. There’s no going back, pretending we didn’t do it. I won’t…I can’t…” That was as much of an admission of his feelings the vampire would allow for now. Yes, she’d been jealous of the stupid bint who’d taken a shot at him, and yes, there was no doubt about her wanting him physically, but until he was sure of some sort of reciprocity, there was no way in hell he was going to let her know how badly she’d gotten to him.
“Everything’s already changed, and if you don’t see that…maybe this isn’t such a good idea after all.” She didn’t move---couldn’t move---could only watch him with her heart thumping in her throat. She’d acted so stupidly earlier; her Spike hadn’t done anything with that other dancer at the club and to think so…Her eyes widened, not even seeing him standing before her, the realization of what she’d just thought, how she’d just considered him, sending chilling tremors undulating down her spine. She had not just referred to him as hers…had she? Yet, there was no lying to herself this time, and she could hear the little voice’s amused chuckle echoing from somewhere deep inside her head.
“Trust me, Spike,” she repeated, and took a step towards him.
“Wait.” The velvet rumble of his voice held a note of command Buffy wasn’t accustomed to hearing from the blond vampire, and she froze, her hazel gaze locked with his. “I’m not done talkin’ yet.” The young woman realized she was holding her breath and slowly exhaled, waiting. “How many blokes have you been with?” he asked.
The question was the last she’d been expecting. “What?” she asked, shock rolling off her in waves. “What’s that got to do with anything?”
“Everything.” It was all he could do to control himself, and leaned back against the door, hiding his hands behind him, hands balled into fists as he fought to remain composed “How many? Just the two?” Her stunned silence was the only response he needed. “I know how it was with…Angel…” He had problems even saying the name, hating to bring him into this but knowing it was necessary. “And I can pretty much guess what happened with Mr. College Boy Sensitivity, so if that’s what you’re expectin’…if that’s what you want here tonight, this stops now, and I open this door, and I spend the night in my bed. Alone.”
“I don’t understand…”
Spike gritted his teeth. God, how he wanted to just forget the words, forget thinking so much, forget…everything. But he couldn’t, not now, not when they’d come so far… “I’m talkin’ raindrops on roses, luv. I’m talkin’ bleedin’ violins in the background. Not that I can’t do the soft touch, because it certainly has its place and time and I can appreciate that as much as the next bloke, but if you think that I can pull that tonight, you have no fucking clue what this is all about.” He couldn’t hold back any longer, had to touch her, even if for just long enough for her to kick him out. One hand stretched out, caressed the line of her jaw before stroking the satin of her neck.
“If this happens, don’t expect that I’ll be able to hold back,” he continued. “It’ll be raw…it’ll be primal…and you will scream. Because once I start, Buffy, I won’t be able to stop until I’ve consumed you, until…” The words choked in his throat, and he was grateful that the cloak of darkness barred her from reading the truth he knew shone within his eyes. It was bad enough he was saying as much as he was, but she had to understand what she was getting involved in. It was the only way Spike could open himself up for what fucking the Slayer was going to do to his life.
His honesty ate at her insides, and the young woman swallowed hard as she reached up to grab his hand, pulling it away from her skin, pushing it back toward his own body, almost throwing it at his chest. She saw the resignation flicker across his face before hardening into that familiar mask he wore for the public, and his shoulder started to turn toward the closed door, head already ducking. “Right, then,” he began to say, only to be jerked back to face her, the collar of his shirt caught within her thin fingers.
The ripping shattered the tension between them, and Spike growled as Buffy stepped back, his shirt dangling from her hand, the gleam unmistakeable in her eye. She ran when he leapt, diving for the bed, her laughter floating back to taunt him as he rolled onto the floor, shoulder hitting the corner of the bed as his trousers tangled around his ankles.
“Fuck,” he muttered, and grabbed the cuffed hems to yank them free. As they flew across the room, the vampire whipped his head around, spotting a crouched Slayer in the middle of the mattress. “Games like that’ll only make it harder on you,” he warned, giving her one final chance to turn away. God, he thought. Please don’t…
“That’s the whole idea,” she replied, peeling her blouse from her skin, smiling as he closed the gap between them.
Strong hands grabbed her arms, yanking her upward, crushing her to his chest as his mouth descended, not to her lips but to her shoulder, biting it…dragging his teeth roughly across her skin as he bent her backwards, folding her in half against the mattress. The Slayer’s breathing was a hearty rasp, catching in her lungs with a serrated edge, ruffling against the platinum curls bowed against her arm. She knew…could feel…the marks he was leaving in the wake of his hunger, the rivulets screaming their presence as they made contact with the cool air and his even cooler flesh, and revelled in how alive they made her feel. Yes, she thought as her eyes fluttered shut. My Spike…
When Buffy’s arms came up around his chiselled shoulders, the vampire tore his mouth away, reaching for her wrists with a feral languor that hypnotized the young woman, immobilizing her while he twisted her arms over her head, pinning them with strength only equalled by her own. She could’ve thrown him off, but feeling his weight forcing her down into the bed sent an electrical relay sparking among her nerve endings, jumping from a rock-hard nipple…to the tender flesh on the inside of her elbow…to the harsh throb of her clit, all within the space of a split second. It was maddening…and thrilling…and intoxicating…all at the same time…
His free hand reached down, grabbed the edge of her skirt, and yanked, rending the fabric as it melted away from her hips. The only thing separating them now was the thin satin of her underwear, and Spike chuckled as he hooked his thumb around the waistband…and pulled.
He may have stopped her arms, but there was no way the blond vamp could check the Slayer’s powerful legs as they scissored around his hips. Spike hissed as his dripping cock slid along her slick folds, tantalizingly near to plunging their depths but physically incapable as she locked their lower bodies together.
“You think that’ll stop me?” he growled, and slid his hand around to her ass.
She gasped as an icy finger pressed against the opening, hazel eyes widening as he slowly inserted the tip. It was unlike anything she’d ever felt before, and the shock relaxed her thighs just enough for him to pull back…to angle himself over the juices seeping from her pussy…and to thrust forward, burying himself deep within her.
She screamed. She couldn’t help it. Although Buffy had known what to expect, had felt his hard cock more than once with her hot little hands, she had no way to anticipate how full it would make her feel, stretching her until she thought she would explode, freezing her insides while at the same time igniting her flesh in daggers of flame.
He silenced her with his mouth, bruising her lips as he savaged them with a hunger the vampire found unexpected. As he began thrusting…
…and then in again…
…his hand released her ass, scraping up her back to sweep around to her front, catching her nipple between his fingers and pinching with an inexorable power. The exquisite pleasure caused her to moan, and Spike tasted his own blood as Buffy bit down into his lip.
Each time he plunged, the force drove her into the mattress, surrounding her for a second in down before releasing her to the chill air as he pulled out…only to repeat the process…again…and again…and again…each time, rubbing her clit across the coarse hairs of his groin…pressing with sensual authority into the base of his cock when he’d bang against her core.
The rhythm was maddening, never changing, never easing, building within her until she lost all sense of here, or now, or who she was, or where she ended, or where he began. All that mattered was the man above her…
…the man within her…
…the man who clung to her in desperation as his own need swelled…
…swallowing her breath…
…encompassing her being…
…until it exploded…wave upon wave of pleasure shuddering through her body, creating a holocaust within her heart that threatened to leap from her chest, to ignite the vampire above and consume him as well.
As he felt her clench around his cock, Spike pulled himself away from her mouth, propping himself up on his hand so that he could gaze down at the golden beauty, her head thrown back in delirium, the fine lines of her throat a symphony of swelter. Her mouth worked, and he almost missed the whispered word as she exhaled along the crest of her orgasm.
It drove him over the edge of control, and the blond vampire pounded into the Slayer’s pussy, each stroke rougher…deeper…more exquisite than the one before it, the kindle of her heat scorching his cock in painful pleasure…
…until it detonated, gushing deep within her center, drowning her in ice as he clung helplessly to her torso…
…continuing his thrusts even after the crescendo began to fade, her channel slick with both of their juices. His mouth found hers again, but their earlier fervor was now replaced with a sucking need, gentle and tender in its exploration as his tempo slowed, coasted to an erratic beat, their bodies quivering in the aftermath.
“Spike…” she murmured, and opened her eyes to stare up into those sapphire depths. All evidence of her intoxication from the wine was now banished from her system; her mind was clear, sharpened, and for the first time in ages, Buffy felt like she finally understood. “No going back.”
His face softened, almost smiling, and the tip of his tongue ran along her jaw to her ear. “Never dream of it, luv,” he whispered, and closed his eyes.
The night was only beginning…
To be continued in Chapter 17: It
Had to Be You…