DISCLAIMER: Everything but the plot is Joss'. Too bad.
PREVIOUSLY ON BUFFY: Xander has discovered the identity of the safety, and the rest of the gang has snuck Gino out of the hospital after Willow’s spell worked even better than she’d hoped…

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

Chapter 31: All This, and Heaven, Too

Closing the door behind her, she pressed herself back into its wood and watched as Gino stood before the full-length mirror, shirt off, staring at his reflection. His hand rubbed distractedly over the spot where he’d been shot, the skin unblemished, just as it would’ve been prior to his run-in with Marty, just as if nothing had ever happened. Although she had hardly expected the result she got, Willow wasn’t arguing with it, relieved at least that he wasn’t going to be forced to suffer needlessly because of her. And of course…that he wasn’t going to die.

“Buffy shouldn’t be too long getting your things,” she offered softly. “Are you hungry? Spike offered to order in for us, or cook, or something.” She paused, giving him a small smile. “We could get Chinese.”

“Nah, I’m jake,” he replied, his voice just as low, still absorbed in his examination.

When he lapsed back into the silence that had consumed him since hearing the Scoobies’ story, Willow bit her lip. This somber stranger had been occupying Gino’s body for enough time now for her to start worrying she had broken what connection they had achieved. He was so distant now, and though he had responded to her ministrations with his usual gentle courtesy, she couldn’t help the question that still remained in her head. Had she lost him by saving his life?

“You don’t hate me, do you?” She blurted the question before she could stop herself, her mouth miles ahead of her brain, and blushed as she recognized the desperation in it. Go ahead and confirm the fact that you’re a total geek, she thought. A graceless, needy, over-sensitive geek.

Gino’s head jerked as if stung, his black gaze jumping to meet hers in the mirror. “Why would you ask something like that?” he asked. “Look what you did for me. I’d have to be a real palooka not to appreciate it.”

“Just ‘cause you appreciate something, doesn’t mean you have to like it,” she said. “Like, I can appreciate that brussel sprouts are packed full of vitamin goodness, but that doesn’t mean I’m ever going to enjoy eating them.”

His face softened. “You’re not a brussel sprout.”

“And you’re not answering my question.”

“That’s because it’s a dumb question.” At her look of surprise, he sighed. “I thought you got it, Willow. I don’t know what guys you know, but I can’t just turn my feelings on and off like some light switch. I dunno, maybe that makes me a sucker. But just ‘cause you did what you did doesn’t mean how I feel about you changes.”

She allowed herself to take a step toward him. “But…it feels like my mouth is the only one that’s really working here. I mean, usually, you don’t have any problems talking to me, but ever since…” Her green eyes were hurt, shining in the artificial light of the room, and Gino dropped his own from them, returning to gaze at his abdomen in the mirror.

“I’m not wise about how you can do such stuff,” he said, the hypnotic quality of his voice almost a rumble between the walls. “All that hocus-pocus seems like it comes straight out of the movies to me. But you can. And if I thought you were special before, this only proves that.” In that nervous way of his she’d begun to identify with him, Gino’s hands began clenching at his sides, balling into fists so tight that his knuckles cracked, then relaxing, stretching, only to repeat the process. “I’m just a dumb mug trying to stay out of dutch when I can. I can’t do magic, or fight these monsters you talk about. Hell, it doesn’t even look like I’m going to have a job once Mr. Lombardi finds out about my disappearing act. How’m I supposed to rate with you in the face of all that?”

It was so ironic; after years of feeling inadequate herself, Willow had missed recognizing it in the dark-haired bouncer, hardly expecting to find here of all places someone who might understand what it felt like to be the shadow who was always there but never seen, the wallflower who always managed to be standing next to the sunlight that captured everyone’s attention. It wasn’t that he had all of a sudden decided not to like her anymore; it was that, all of a sudden, she was seeing how little he valued himself.

Crossing the room to stand behind him, she reached her arms around his waist, leaning her cheek against his back. “First of all, you’re not dumb,” she said. “And if you say that again, I’ll have Buffy kick you into next Tuesday.”

Although she couldn’t see it, Gino grinned at the sudden image of the petite blonde trying to take him on. They had mentioned how strong she was, but until he saw it for himself, there was no way he was going to believe it.

“Secondly,” Willow continued, “you don’t have a monopoly on feelings. Why do you think I did the spell in the first place?”

He had been avoiding thinking of that, avoided considering the implications the magnitude of her deed suggested. It meant more hope than he thought he could bear at the moment. It was just enough to believe that she liked him; to suppose the redhead might in any way reciprocate the depth of his feelings was more than Gino thought possible.

His dark head lowered, gazing down at the lightly freckled arm across his stomach, her thin hands spread against his skin, and gently began stroking the angular bones of her wrist. “You didn’t tell me what happens when you leave,” he said.

He felt her stiffen. “Because we don’t know. It makes sense to think you’ll probably go back to the way things were before we got here in the first place, you know…forget everything and resume life as normal.”

As Willow began to pull away, he caught her wrist between his fingers, turning so that he could look down at her, holding her still as his other hand reached up and pushed her bangs away from her eyes. “But I don’t want to forget,” he murmured.

She swallowed. “Neither do I.” The breath choked in her throat as Gino’s head came down, his lips brushing over hers in a velvet caress, the hand that had been touching her hair sliding around to the back of her neck as if by holding her, he could imagine that all of what she said wasn’t real, that she wasn’t going anywhere, that it could just be the two of them…in this room…in this moment.

“I don’t feel like sleeping,” Willow whispered as his mouth left hers, green eyes flickering up to gaze into his, drowning in the black pools as she began stepping backward.

Though he was easily twice her size, the dark-haired bouncer allowed himself to be guided to the edge of the bed, the lavender comforter sinking beneath his weight, his hands suddenly seeming too large, too clumsy in light of the atmosphere’s delicacy. When she leaned into him, breasts pressing against his bare arm as she sought another kiss, Gino felt the heat coming off her in waves, her hunger a palpable force, almost a third presence within the room. It was dizzying, and he had to fight the urge to just grab her, remembering how tiny she was in comparison to his bulk.

Willow broke off from the kiss, tucking her legs underneath her as she knelt on the bed next to him. “Why do you do that?” she asked softly.

“What?” The sudden dismay that perhaps he was hurting her, or upsetting her in some way, was crushing.

“I’m not a doll. I won’t break.” With the blood roaring through her head like the ocean during a storm, she slowly straddled his lap, pressing herself down into his growing erection, the walls of fabric the only barriers between them. “You don’t have to be afraid.” Her boldness surprised even her, but the fear that they would lose this intimacy far outweighed any sense of shyness that might have tethered her.

His fingers fumbled on the buttons of her blouse, and Willow reached up to place her own over his, guiding his movements as they undid the fastenings, her eyes fixed on his as if by doing so it would bolster his confidence. It seemed to be all Gino needed. When the fine lace of her bra was exposed, his hands slid under the shirt’s cotton to grasp the redhead’s upper arms, pulling her against him as their lips met in yet another kiss.

She had known he wanted her, could feel the proof between her legs, but the need in his exploration of her mouth was more than even their session outside her apartment…god, was it just yesterday? So much had happened since then, and yet, here they were, almost picking up where they had left off twenty-four hours earlier, just as if he had never been shot. A twinge of guilt threatened to extinguish the flame that was already igniting in her, and she quickly stamped it down, refusing to allow anything to spoil what could very likely be their only time together.

Willow met his kiss with matching ardor, arms reaching around him to hold him against her, to feel his chest rub against her nipples through the sheer lace of her underwear. The friction was unlike anything she’d ever experienced before. Loving Oz had been sweet and wonderful, but with the wolf always inside him, he’d seemed afraid of unleashing anything darker in their lovemaking and she had let him have that. Now, there was Gino, someone just as strong, just as gentle, but this time, she wasn’t going to let him off that easy. He would push as hard as she would allow him to; she only had to say the word.

Somehow, her shirt ended up on the floor, with her bra following closely after, and Willow felt his hands splay across her back as his mouth worked expertly over hers. There was no hesitation now---both of them knew exactly where this was going---and their tongues danced, swallowing down the other, getting drunk on the sensations that rippled through their bodies. She was wet, could feel her panties begin to soak through her trousers, and was just starting to wonder what he was going to do about it when she felt the world tip around her as Gino twisted and turned, lowering her back onto the bed without breaking the rhythm of their kisses.

He seemed so much bigger in that position, shoulders blocking out the light from overhead, weight pressing into her hips, that for a moment, Willow wondered just what she was doing. It was fleeting though, as his mouth left hers and began raining butterfly kisses over her face…the tip of her nose, the contour of her cheekbones, the arc of her brow. The restrained power within those movements was enough to reassure her just who this man really was, and that she would be totally safe with him…no matter what.

When his hands came up to stroke the hair out of her face, her eyes fluttered open, her breathing ragged, as she stared up at him. “I couldn’t ever hate you,” he murmured. “Not my Willow.”

The tiny smile she offered in response was sad, the knowledge that she’d be leaving this behind all too much real, and she swallowed hard, turning her head to catch his palm with her mouth, running her tongue over the callouses that defined them. Don’t think, she ordered herself. Just be.

Gino groaned at the feel of her mouth and slowly, deliberately, lowered his free hand to his belt, undoing the buckle before he felt her fingers join his. “I can do that,” she said, completing the job, sliding inside the waistband of both his pants and his boxers to ease them over his hips, allowing his erection to spring free. When she grasped his cock, stretching her fingers to curl around his girth, it was an echo of her earlier touch, forcing the hiss through his teeth. He hesitated for a moment, then grabbed the initiative, letting his hands alight on her own trousers as the redhead slowly pumped up and down his length.

Seeing her lying naked underneath him tightened the band around Gino’s chest, forcing the air to expel from his lungs, devouring her with his black gaze before sliding his body alongside hers to stretch out on top of the comforter. Willow rolled onto her own side, her touch never leaving his erection. “I’m not going to have to play teacher again, am I?” she teased, the smile on her lips and the light in her eyes telling him how untrue she knew that statement to be.

The dark-haired bouncer smiled. “I’ve already told you,” he said. “I’m a man who works with my hands.”

She giggled. “It feels funny doing this on Buffy’s bed.”

“Do you want to stop? Or move?”

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “She knew what she was doing when she got rid of the gang. And I want this too much to stop now.”

Gino leaned forward and brushed his lips over hers. “I won’t hurt you,” he promised.

“I know.”

Their kiss deepened, and he pressed her back into the bed again, holding himself on his forearms as he shifted his weight over her. He wasn’t sure what to expect---to think that she might’ve been a virgin was horribly naïve, he knew, especially considering how knowledgeable she seemed in touching him---but as he slowly pressed into her wet pussy, Gino was surprised at her tightness, feeling her expand with excruciating suction to accommodate his hard cock, the eddies of pleasure it was creating in him driving him to go deeper…to thrust harder.

She never made a sound, just matched him kiss for kiss, clung to his bare shoulders with those tiny but powerful hands, and waited for him to bury himself within her. When he felt her pelvis pressing against his, he stopped, holding himself there, knowing in that moment that the woman beneath him, an intricate mystery within her own simplicity, owned him.

Willow was the one to initiate the movement, pulling herself slightly away to force his cock to begin the outward trip, and Gino picked up on the rhythm…long, slow strokes as he thrust in and out…allowing himself to almost but not quite pull all the way out before beginning the long descent back into her wetness. His tongue licked at her earlobes as her breathing grew more and more ragged, the sweat starting to run in rivulets down their chests, easing the friction between them, each drag across his coarse hair sending electric shocks through her nipples and down into her clit.

Neither wanted it to end, but as their pace quickened, their mouths growing more desperate, the fires inside them swelled, burgeoning beyond their control, and Willow felt the first spasms begin rocking her pussy, tightening around his cock as he buried his face in her neck. When they exploded throughout her body, the shivers became uncontrollable, and she bucked underneath his mass, thrusting upward as if to meld her hips to him.

“God…Gino…” she panted, and grabbed his head to bring his mouth to hers, crushing him to her in a last-minute attempt to swallow him whole.

As he came, his body froze, and he almost forgot about trying to keep his weight from crushing her into the mattress, his arms tremoring as if he’d been lifting weights for hours. The world tunnelled around him, and Gino sucked at her mouth, gulping her air in order to replace that which had escaped him, his head swimming against a scarlet tide. No amount of fantasizing could’ve prepared him for this; Willow’s need engulfed him, and he willingly gave himself over to it.

He was in heaven.

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

When he heard the door open and close, knowing she was home, the corner of Spike’s mouth lifted. Bugger if Buffy wasn’t domesticating him; here he was thinking of this as home already.

“Get everything?” he asked when she appeared in the doorway.

“Yep. Are they…?”

He nodded. “That was a good thing you did for them, Buffy. Red needed that.”

The vamp watched as she crossed to the bed, flopping back against the black satin. “You think?” she said. “’Cause I’m not convinced.” She propped herself up on her elbows and gazed over at Spike, sprawled in the chair, his mug forgotten in his hand. “It’s so fast, and she’s still trying to get over Oz. I just…it’s just not Will. She’s acting so…reckless. What if her spell had backfired? I mean, look at what her will-it-so spell did.”

“Yeah, it opened the door for you and me, pet.”

“And had half of Sunnydale’s demon population on our heels, too, remember? I want her to be happy, smiley Willow again, but I don’t think she’s being smart about this. She’s just not thinking.”

Spike’s head tilted, his blue eyes steady. “So?” he said. “If you ask me, it’s about bleedin’ time. Red needs to start listening to other parts of her body other than her head for a change.”

“Since when you are Mr. Insightful on Willow’s lovelife?” Buffy asked, eyebrows lifting.

“Since I bothered to listen to her dish about Gino,” he retorted. “When was the last time you two had a heart to heart? A real heart to heart?”

Biting her lip, the Slayer sat up, turning away from his knowing eyes. She hated it when he was right, especially about something as personal as her friendships. It had been far too long since she and Willow had had a serious girl talk. Oh, sure, they’d had tons of light moments, laughing and joking, but did she really know what was going on between her and the dark-haired bouncer?

Spike sipped at his blood. “Don’t be fussed ‘bout it, luv,” he soothed. “Red knows you’ve got other things to be frettin’ on.”

“I know.” She sighed. “She’s a better friend than I am.”

The vampire watched as the young blonde rose from the bed and began prowling around the room like a caged animal. The events of the day were still wound tightly within her---whether she realized it or not---and the prospect of unleashing it brought a familiar hardening to his crotch. “So,” he drawled. “We’ve got…what? Three, four hours to kill before work?”

“Yeah,” Buffy said distractedly. “You think we’ll be able to get into the other room before then?”

Remembering the moans he’d heard during the Slayer’s absence, Spike shook his head, a wry grin on his face. “I wouldn’t count on that, pet.”

She stood in front of the wardrobe and pulled open the doors, grimacing at the sight of the various costumes, plucking at a boa that dangled below. “You think I have any real clothes in here?”

“Dunno. But I’d wager that leather bit would be quite fetchin’ on you.”

She rolled her eyes at his licentious smirk, pulling open a drawer only to immediately frown. “What are these?” she asked, pulling out a pair of small metal balls strung on a strand of tight cord.

Spike grinned. “Nothin’ you need,” he said. “Trust me.”

“But what are they?”

“They’re called ben wa balls.” He stood and sauntered to her side, taking the toy from her grasp to roll them around in the palm of his hand.

“Do I want to know what they’re used for?”

His sudden salivation prompted him to suck at his teeth, and with the toy nestled in his fingers, Spike slid behind Buffy, one arm hooking around her waist, the other---the one with the ben wa balls---easing its way under the waistband of her pants. “Some birds use ‘em for pure enjoyment,” he murmured, his mouth on her ear. “Like this.”

Buffy felt the cool metal roll along her skin as the vamp reached beneath the satin of her underwear, and gasped as first one, and then the other, found its way into her pussy, guided into place by Spike’s long fingers. Once they were inserted, though, he didn’t remove his hand, instead allowing his thumb to circle her clit.

“But that’s not what they’re actually for,” he continued, his voice a melodic rumble down her spine. “Once they’re in,” and he nudged them inside her, pressing the nearest into her vaginal wall, “you’re supposed to just hold ‘em there while you go about with your daily business. Strengthens the muscles.” Very slowly, his fingers slid out, dragging the string along with them, the balls stickily dropping into his palm. “But like I said, luv, you don’t need them.”

Using the edge of the wardrobe to steady herself, Buffy watched as Spike tossed the toy aside, then leaned forward to rummage through the open drawer. “Is this your idea of killing time?” she teased, her voice husky.

“Got a better idea?” The velvet dangled from his fingers. “I’d say we deserve some down time.”

“That doesn’t look like down time, Spike. That looks like a blindfold.” But she didn’t move as he slid it over her eyes, tightening it against her golden tresses.

“All in good fun, luv.” She heard him move away and started to turn, only to be stopped when he spoke again. “Stop,” he ordered, the command in his voice unmistakeable. “Stay there.”

“It’s not like I’ve never been blindfolded before,” she said, the tingle of excitement still shading her voice. “Giles uses this technique all the time when I’m training.”

“If I find out Rupert does what I’m about to,” Spike responded from somewhere on the other side of the room, “I’m goin’ to start sittin’ in on those sessions.”
Her heart was pounding in her chest as Buffy focussed her senses on the vampire and his unknown actions, straining to decipher the confluence of sounds that floated to her ears. A drawer opening…fabric rustling, maybe silk?...the drawer sliding closed again. So he’d taken something out, but what?

“Trust me.” He was at her side again, so fast she hadn’t even heard him, his cool lips grazing her earlobe before trailing down the side of her neck. Whatever he’d retrieved was no longer in his hands because they both came up to undo her blouse, pulling it from the waistband of her pants as he slipped it over her shoulders, his teeth nibbling on the top of her shoulders as they became exposed to the air.

Buffy sighed, her head tilting to the side to allow Spike better access, her breath catching as his fingers caught her nipples in a teasing pinch. Her skin was crawling with individual licks of fire, parting only to allow his icy touch passage as he travelled downward, releasing the button on her trousers, pushing them down over her hips to allow them to crumple into a heap around her ankles. Even she could smell her excitement now, and the vampire’s unmistakeable growl as the scent assailed him sent shivers across the surface of her back.

His body didn’t move, but somehow, his hands disappeared for what seemed like eternity. “Spike…” she whispered.

“Ssshhh,” he responded, more of a breath than an actual word. “Don’t you trust me…?”

“…yes…”

She waited, knowing he was there but ignorant of what he was doing, and was about to speak again when the first tickling began across her collarbone. It was barely there, just a wisp really, but it knew its path, and floated down, between her breasts…under the right and then over it…repeating the pattern in reverse on the left. That was when she decided it had to be a feather, some toy he’d rummaged from the trunk most likely, and gasped as Spike’s hand reached around the inside of her thigh, pulling her legs apart, allowing the feather to dance down the tender flesh there, sending an array of goosebumps skittering across her skin.

When the moan escaped her throat, she felt his hand rise and gently cover her mouth, turning her head slightly so that his mouth was back at her ear. “Mustn’t disturb our guests,” he murmured. “So good little Slayers stay quiet, understand?”

She almost started to speak, then remembered and nodded instead, rewarded very quickly with his chuckle. “Just remember that when I’m buried inside you, luv,” he said.

When he moved away again, Buffy wanted to scream in frustration, the absence of even the feather too much for her aching body to bear. She held her breath, trying to hear him, wondering how, in spite of so many training sessions with Giles where he’d purposely blinded her, she could still feel so completely helpless, unaware of her surroundings. Must be the excitement, she reasoned. Focus and calm yourself down.

Those instructions were for naught when he spoke again. “Follow my voice,” he said, and she turned, concentrating on the baritone as she stepped forward…once…twice…and on the third, made contact with the edge of the bed. “Lie down.”

She did as she was told, wondering not for the first time why she was agreeing to this, knowing without having to answer what the truth of it really was. The first time they’d played a game like this, it had been about Spike and his power. She knew that and had let him do it anyway. This time was different, but just how different, she knew she was only about to discover.

The satin beneath her back warmed as she waited, unable to stop squirming as the anticipation built within her skin. When she felt his cool fingers hook around the sides of her panties, tugging them downward, her hips lifted off the bed in an attempt to expedite their removal, only to be pushed down again by a firm hand once her underwear was free. “Don’t move,” he said, and the mattress sprang back as it was relieved of his weight.

Nothing was keeping her on the bed. All she had to do was sit up, untie the blindfold, and this game would be over. But Buffy didn’t want to do that. The expectation of what he might do next was driving her over the edge of reason, her sense of touch suddenly attuned to greater heights than when was slaying, and the young woman wanted only to feel Spike’s cool body pressed against hers, his cock thrusting in and out of her willing pussy, grinding away with that power only he seemed capable of controlling. Though she knew it would come---he had said as much---he was making her wait for it, building her need until it blinded her, rising in her throat until there was no room for air.

When it came, it wasn’t what she was expecting, a cool hardness that lacked the texture of the vampire’s touch. It pressed lightly against her pussy, sliding down to outline her swollen lips in slippery juices, and then sliding even further, along the crack of her ass, nudging at it with a hard insistence that both shocked and thrilled her. Lightly, she pushed back, feeling it penetrate just ever so slightly, only to feel a familiar tongue flick over her clit. The realization that not even Spike was that good of a contortionist, that it was some toy---a vibrator of some sort?---pressed into her ass only seemed to fuel the fire, and she reached down and entangled her fingers in the blond curls they found, holding him in place while he chewed and licked her pussy.

He didn’t allow the toy to move as he slid up her body, keeping it lodged so delicately in her ass, rocking it just enough to send tremors of electricity through her pelvis. When his lips met hers, she tasted herself on him, and realized that sometime while she’d been waiting, he’d removed his own clothing so that his cool musculature now conjoined with hers. She ached to turn into him, but feared that by doing so, his response would be to force her to wait even longer for satisfaction so she stayed where she was, allowing him to ravish her mouth with his tongue, feeling her juices coat the toy as they ran down the crack of her ass.

Gently, Spike rolled her onto her side, her back to him, and she felt his cock begin nuzzling her ass, replacing the toy. His arms slid around her, one around her breasts, the other on her pussy, and buried his face in the curve of her neck, lapping at the sweaty tang of her skin. As he felt her body relax against him, he began pressing himself forward, coating his erection with her juices and opted instead to slowly push into her slit, his long fingers playing with her clit.

Without being able to see, Buffy lost herself in the sensations…the steady thrusts into her pussy, each one just slightly more forceful than the last…his mouth still sucking at her neck, numbing that one spot to anything but his tongue…the inferno in her clit as his touch became more insistent…

When her orgasm came and her inner walls squeezed around his cock, Spike allowed his demon to emerge for the first time during their lovemaking, gently sinking his fangs into the reddened patch on her neck, feeling her pumping blood seep past his tongue, driving him over the edge so that he spasmed, shooting deep inside her with a final powerful thrust. Her body twisted in his embrace but he held her firm, refusing to allow her to escape the sensations as they overwhelmed the both of them.

By the time the shudders had subsided, the blond vampire had returned to his human visage and was lapping at the tiny scarlet pinpricks that adorned her neck, easing the slight sting that remained with his tongue. She was limp in his arms, her eyes closed, the unmistakeable purr in the back of her throat his only indication that she was even still awake. Carefully, he reached up and undid the blindfold, tossing it aside with a quick flick of his wrist.

Buffy blinked against the sudden illumination, and decided instead to keep her eyes closed, nestling back against his sculpted chest. She knew what he had done, but knew also it wasn’t about the feeding, having experienced how much more intense her orgasm was feeling the fiery sucking, connecting to her clit with some flaming invisible string. If that had been what it was like for her, what on earth did it do to Spike?

“Thank you,” she heard him murmur into her skin, and smiled, feeling the luxury of sleep beginning to overtake her. No, she thought between clouds of down, thank you…


To be continued in Chapter 32: The Lady Is a Tramp