Payback by dreamweaver
Chapter 5 by dreamweaver
Chapter 5


She tried to get out of bed and his arms trapped her, his weight came across her back.

“Where are you going?”

“I should get home. I can’t leave Dawn all night.”

“It’s only one o’clock. And we’re not done yet.”

“You’re never done.”

He laughed under his breath and that raspy tongue explored her shoulderblade. She shivered involuntarily and felt him smile.

“Red’s there, isn’t she? The Bit’s safe. What’s the point of having the witch around except for babysitting? She doesn’t even pay her share of household expenses and she should. You need the money.”

“Will and Tara took care of Dawn when I was...gone. I owe them. And Willow needs help right now.”

“Don’t they owe you, Slayer? For their very existence.” His voice went suddenly grim and hard. “All of them. The Council, Ripper, your good buddies.”

“I was just doing what I had to do. My job.”

“But they’re not helping you with it, not any of them. Why do you let them use you?”

“You’re being too hard on them.”

“Maybe I am.” He rested his chin on the junction of her neck and shoulder, and sighed deeply. “All these interlinkages of right and wrong. I don’t really understand them. Unless one compares it to the responsibility we vamps have to those under our protection. Yeah, that might relate, I guess.”

“Responsibility? Angelus never showed...”

“Oh, Angelus,” he said scornfully. “Angelus never took responsibility for anything. The Master, Dracula, everyone else, we keep our obligations to those in our care, whether minions or the humans who help us, like Drac’s gypsies. It might be for self-centered reasons, but it’s out of duty too. Only Angelus was entirely selfish.”

“Duty?” she scoffed.

“You don’t believe vamps or demons have any? But any society has to have its rules of conduct, Slayer, even demons. Humans might not understand those rules, but that doesn’t mean they don't exist.”

She frowned, considering that.

“Those under your care,” he mused. “Okay, maybe there’s a correlation. Maybe I can see it. Only, there seems to be a breakdown somewhere in your lines of obligation. See, if we protect our minions, then those minions and gypsies are supposed to protect us back. But your dependants don’t. It’s all take from them and no give.”

“Spike...”

“No, make me understand. I’m having trouble here. Maybe because I’m a vamp. This Council of yours. You’re fighting their battles. Why aren’t they funding you? They’re living like fat cats, high on the hog. They’ve got the money and even a little would be an enormous help to you. Why do you let them get away with that? And then your friends...”

“We won’t discuss my friends!” she said sharply. “You don’t understand.”

“I do, you know. I saw it when I first came to Sunnydale. A Slayer with family and friends. I saw the difference that made. But things have broken down. They’ve become a drag on you, not the support they used to be. If a minion or a gypsy becomes a liability, we vamps take their throats out.”

“As an example,” she said dryly.

He grinned. “You got it.”

“It doesn’t work that way with us. If someone’s drowning, you don’t walk away. You throw them a lifeline, even if it costs you.”

“Willow,” he said accurately. “She’s the most understandable of you lot. She was tempted and she fell. Geek kid feeling like a nothing and nerdy and useless suddenly has power thrust upon her, suddenly is special. That’s heady stuff. It’s not her fault really. It’s your Watcher’s. She should have been taught, way back when she first showed her talent at it. He could and should have got her a tutor. Same as he should have stomped on Harris’ bigotry ages ago. That wanker was always weak, but he didn’t start out such a bad kid.”

“High praise,” she said acerbically and he laughed.

“Hey, I’m trying here. Bit prejudiced on Harris.”

“Ya think?”

“Watcher had his own problems though. Council indoctrination for one. But then he lost his job when the high school got trashed and you didn’t need him when you went to college. Hardly paid attention to him, too busy branching out. Your horizons widened while his contracted. He felt useless, started that downward spiral.”

“Is that what I did to him?” she whispered, horrified.

“Yeah, that one was your fault, Slayer. By the time you really needed him after your resurrection, he wasn’t used to being needed. Couldn’t take the responsibility. Cut and ran.”

“Why are you doing this, Spike?” she said angrily. “Does it give you that much pleasure cutting us up?”

“Yeah, it does,” he mocked. “Tara’s acting sensibly, but then she always does. She’s balanced. Anya’s always herself, in a way outside your group, not really caught up in it. But the rest of you? Shyeah. Even the Bit’s bloody selfish. There you are, giving up college, trying to find a job to keep food on the table and a roof over her head while still going out to slay—and all she can think about is that you’re not around to hold her hand all the time? Pfft! So her Dad’s skedaddled and she’s lost her Mum. Haven’t you?”

“Don’t,” Buffy muttered in pain.

“You drive me crazy, Slayer!” he exclaimed in exasperation. “So effing self absorbed, all of you! You don’t think. You don’t see. You just stare at your sodding navels, blind to everything else. The lot of you need your arses kicked.”

“And you’re going to kick them.”

“You could be so much more. You could be a shining light. You were.”

“I’m not listening to this anymore!” She jerked away and started to scramble out of bed.

“Facts are stubborn things, Slayer. They don’t go away just because you don’t look at them.”

He reached out and hooked a hand around her inner thigh and yanked. She lost her balance and fell onto her back on the bed and he was over her, holding her down.

“Passion doesn’t go away just because you’re afraid of it. It’s always there, waiting. The demon in the dark recesses of the heart.”

“The monster,” she flung at him.

“Yes.” His hand ran down her from breast to groin and he gave that snarling, triumphant laugh when her body arched involuntarily. “But the monster turns you on, doesn’t it? That darkness. Got two sides to it, passion does. Can be of the light or can be of the dark. Which side calls you, Slayer?”

“It’s all dark with you, isn’t it?”

“Is it?”

“Why did you force that bite on me?”

He smiled tightly. “You wanted to feel, didn’t you? And that was real feeling, wasn’t it?”

God, it had been!

“You’ve never really understood temptation. Like those people with low libidos who can’t really understand passion. You know now.”

And now the temptation would always exist.

“The blood is the life,” he purred. “Makes you warm. Makes you hard. For a vamp, the desire never goes away. The chip stops me from taking it, forces me to exist on cold, dead, animal blood. But it doesn’t change my nature. I’m a vamp. I want it. I’ll always want it. And now you know how that feels. To want something that badly.”

She would always want it. It had been cruel of him to show her.

But then the chip had been cruel. She was starting to see that now, when she had always thought it was necessary before, to contain him. She was starting to see what a violation it had been to him.

“But a Slayer’s blood’s even better. God, what a high! Won’t have to feed for days. And it’s an aphrodisiac too. Just like my taking it is an aphrodisiac for you.” His eyes had gone gold. He dropped his head and licked her neck with that raspy tongue. His fangs pricked lightly against her flesh. “Shall I take it?”

She shuddered, wanting him to.

“I’m dancing with death, aren’t I?” she muttered.

“Haven’t we always?”

His hands were moving over her, kneading and caressing, and her body arched involuntarily to his. She felt him smile against her neck.

“It excites you. You want it.”

“Yes,” she sighed.

He laughed and bit.

***

It was simpler when she hated him, when they were honest enemies. She had complicated things by allowing all this to happen. No, things had become complicated when he had started pursuing her all those months ago. And when she had started relying on him after her resurrection. He had found his balance now, was back to being her enemy, openly enjoying hitting out at her while savoring the perks this liaison brought him. She was the one who couldn’t find solid ground.

Darkness fell and there he would be, pacing her through the graveyards, that particular vibration of vamp presence so familiar to her now, always there on the edge of her awareness, a promise and a threat, creature of the night formed out of shadow and moonlight to plague her, tempt her, drag her down into that burning vortex of lust and sensation.

“Come,” he’d say, stepping out of the shadows at the end of patrol, and she’d go with him back to his crypt, furious at herself for her weakness, but unable to resist that lure, that fever dream, of passion.

Demon lover, monstrous, irresistible, frightening.

Even Xander was afraid of him now. They had come up against each other in the Bronze and Spike had smiled, just smiled with a hint of fang showing. And Xander had turned and walked away without a word. Which was, if one thought about it, something of a miracle.

He’d stopped trying to help her on patrol. Previously she had become used to him constantly pushing himself into the fray even when she vehemently rejected his help. But that was before. Now he just watched. She was aware of his amused, sardonic gaze as she battled it out with vamps or demons, and was getting accustomed to the running commentary he shouted at her and the mocking cracks after. But she felt a niggling sense of loss, not for the help which she hadn’t needed, but for the support, the backing.

‘I’m getting too involved,’ she thought worriedly. She was starting to need him and that was scary.

A Chiriwan turned up unexpectedly at Restfield. That wasn’t usual. Chiriwans were rare, appearing in this world only when some warlock or adept accidentally caused a thinning of the walls between planes while doing some spell. It was huge and mindlessly ferocious and looked as solid as a bunch of boulders thrown together then covered with rubbery, gray, warty skin.

“I think I’m in trouble,” muttered Buffy. She only had a totally inadequate stake with her and this thing probably needed a bazooka to take it down.

The sense of Spike’s presence that she had been aware of on the edge of her perception suddenly vanished. She was surprised and obscurely hurt that he should desert her like this. He never usually dodged a fight. But then no sensible vamp would take on a Chiriwan.

The thing roared and slashed at her with four-inch, black talons. She ducked hurriedly. Those claws were poisonous. She somersaulted out of the way and it lumbered after her. She had to kill it, couldn’t just leave it wandering around even for the time it took to get to her arms chest and find some weapon that might work against it, a spear or a crossbow. The thing had no brains and would go blundering out of the cemetery and into Sunnydale, destroying any living being it found.

A spear...She flung herself lengthwise at the thick branch of a tree, the heels of her boots hammering into it with Slayer strength and breaking it off. She landed neatly, ducked that long, orangutan arm swinging at her and scooped up the branch. The end of it where it had broken away from the tree was satisfactorily splintered, might even penetrate that thick hide.

“Slayer!”

She spun at the sound of Spike’s voice and saw something flying at her. She caught it without thinking. It was a sword, the hilt smacking precisely into the palm of her hand. That’s where he had gone—into his crypt. He hadn’t deserted her.

Throwing her the sword had cost him though. He wasn’t able to duck the rebounding swing of the Chiriwan’s arm. It knocked him twenty feet backwards into an oak. She heard the grunt of his breath as he smashed solidly into it.

“Spike! You okay?” she yelled at him.

He recovered hurriedly, shoving away from the oak and flashing towards her. He had his own sword in his left hand.

“’M fine. Gotta get behind it, Slayer.”

“Hamstring it,” she nodded.

“Yeah.”

“It’s fast.”

For all its lumbering bulk, the Chiriwan still moved with surprising speed.

“Have to be faster. Go left, Slayer. I’ll go right. Stay low.”

They raced at it, then did identical diving rolls to get past it as it struck out at them. The moment they passed it, the swords flashed out, slashing into the backs of its knees. It roared in pain and crashed onto the ground, its legs no longer able to hold it up. Buffy and Spike both shot to their feet. Their swords hammered down together, precisely into the thing’s heart.

The Chiriwan dusted.

“No cleanup either,” said Buffy with satisfaction. She coughed, waving away the dust. “I wonder if there are any long term effects to breathing this dust all the time.”

“Lung cancer?” Spike grinned. “Not an issue. Slayers and vamps don’t have to worry about things like that. The cells heal too fast. Hundred and twenty years of smoking have never got to me. What I’d worry about is who’s doing spells.”

“Yeah, something thinned the walls between dimensions. Willow?”

“Doesn’t have to be. Could be someone miles from here or even on that thing’s plane.”

“True.” She gave him a puzzled look. “Why did you help me?”

He stopped short, an arrested look on his face. There was a perceptible pause, then he made an irritable gesture.

“Dunno. Didn’t think.” He scowled at her. “You’re my toy, Slayer. If anything kills you, it’ll be me.”

“Ah.” She couldn’t help smiling at the discomfort on his face. “Well, thanks anyway.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“I’d better get on with the rest of my patrol.”

He flapped a hand in dismissal and stalked in the opposite direction, his movements jagged with anger and vexation. She grinned as she watched him go, enjoying being one up on him for once, for whatever strange reason.

Willow hadn’t done a spell. Neither had Tara, when Buffy asked her the next day.

“Well, there is a sort of...tinge of magic,” Tara said after checking. “But it’s very weak. I don’t think it’s been cast by someone in Sunnydale. It feels like a failed spell, watered down even more by distance.”

“Or by the barrier between dimensions?”

Tara nodded. “I th-think it was an accident. Someone trying something that didn’t work and was probably not even aimed at us.”

“That’s a relief. Keep a lookout though, Tara. Just in case.”

“I will.”

It was Saturday and the Scoobies went to the Bronze as usual that night.

“Bleach boy’s not here tonight,” said Xander with relief, then jumped as Spike suddenly materialized out of a dark corner behind him.

“Buy you girls a drink?” purred Spike, his glance clearly including Xander in that category.

“How come you’re so flush these days?” Xander snapped. “Thought you were stony broke and here you are throwing money around like there’s no tomorrow.”

“You all have such suspicious minds.” Spike grinned at Buffy. “Slayer asked me that too.”

“I don’t hear you answering,” Xander retorted.

“Don’t answer to you. Or to her. ’M my own man.”

“He uses loaded dice,” said Buffy hurriedly, trying not to think of that ATM. Spike did seem to have an unusual amount of money these days.

“Figures,” muttered Xander.

“Let’s dance,” said Anya and yanked him hurriedly onto the dance floor, casting a nervous glance at Spike. She didn’t want Xander’s mouth getting him into trouble again.

Buffy watched Willow and Tara drift away to a table. “Go away,” she said under her breath to Spike.

“Why?”

“They’re watching us.”

“They feel the heat, don’t they?” His glance slid appreciatively down her, over her silky halter top and narrow black skirt with its high front slit. “I certainly do. Did you dress that way for me, Slayer?”

He caught the way her color rose and her gaze avoided his, and laughed softly under his breath.

“You did. You wearing anything under that?”

She gave him a sideways, mocking glance. “No.”

“Is that so?” His eyes flared and a crease slashed down his cheek in laughter. “I’m gonna be thinking about that all night.”

“Do that.”

“You’re a tease, Slayer.”

“You like it. Now go away.”

“Come with me.”

“No. I have to spend some time with the Scoobies and, besides, they’d notice.”

“When then?”

“In a couple of hours. Wait for me. I’ll come.”

“Oh, you will. Several times.”

She laughed involuntarily. “Go away, Spike.” But her voice was softer.

“Going.”

But he didn’t. He simply went out of sight of the Scoobies. She could feel his vamp signature vibrating on the edge of her awareness. He was doing it on purpose, knowing that she would sense him. It was both pressure and promise, keeping her on edge all evening. She could feel the beat of her heart speeding up, feel herself dampening. Two hours had never seemed so long.

At last the party broke up, Anya and Xander going home, Tara coming with her and Willow back to Revello Drive.

“I think I’ll do a patrol,” Buffy said abruptly as they stepped out of the Bronze.

She saw Tara glance sideways at her and turned away hurriedly, flushing a little.

“Dressed like that?” said Willow in surprise.

“I’m warm enough.” She pulled the zip of her short leather jacket higher. “Don’t wait up.”

“Okay,” said Willow, not displeased at having a little time alone with Tara.

Spike was waiting for her in Restfield, calmly smoking and sitting with one haunch on a tomb and his other leg stretched out for balance. The line of his body in the moonlight, the platinum hair and strong planes of his face had a beauty she could not shut out however she tried, speeded her pulse and brought that shameful clenching within her.

He flipped away his cigarette when she came into view and rose, his face amused.

“More than two hours. Still fighting it, are you?”

“You like my fighting it and losing,” she said bitterly.

“The bleating of the lamb excites the tiger.”

“I don’t want to want it,” she said between her teeth. “It goes against every instinct I have. I hate it. I hate you.”

“I know. It adds spice.”

He reached out suddenly and yanked her to him, turning so that she was trapped between him and the tomb.

“Comes from being a vamp, I suppose,” she said scornfully. “You like that resistance.”

“Yes.”

“Like forcing that surrender.”

“Who’s forcing anything?” He pulled the zip of her jacket down, smiled down at her hardened nipples clearly visible through the thin material of her top. “You’re forcing it on yourself, Slayer.”

“I want...”

“To be enfolded, cherished, loved. Who doesn’t?”

“Not you.”

“What do you know about me?” His mouth twisted with some internal bitterness. “But I’ve never had it and I never will. One takes what one gets.”

She looked at him in surprise. But he was laughing scornfully and she didn’t know whether that scorn was directed at her or at himself.

“But be honest, Slayer. You don’t want that right now. You’d spurn gentleness, reject it. You need to be pushed right now, so you can pretend it’s not your fault.” His mouth raked down her throat and she shuddered and arched against him. “But that’s not the truth, is it?”

It wasn’t her fault. It was the fault of his hands sliding over her, his mouth avid on her breast through the thin material of her top. Not her fault that she couldn’t resist that intense sensation.

“Not here,” she muttered.

“Yes, here.”

“Your crypt...”

“Should have taken you at the Bronze. You’d have liked that. Wondering whether people would see. Wondering what they would think. That extra edge of risk and danger. That spice.”

“No!”

“Oh, yes. That dark side in you likes the thought. It turns you on.”

The worst part of it was that he was right. It did turn her on.

“I don’t want to be this way!” she cried.

“Then don’t be. There’s always a choice, isn’t there?”

But there wasn’t. Not when his hands had snapped the straps of her top and dragged it away, not when his mouth was moving and suckling upon her breasts, that raspy tongue driving her insane, the heat rising imperative and irresistible through her body.

He was pulling up her skirt and she felt the stone of the tomb cold against her backside.

“You really aren’t wearing anything under that,” he said in pleasurable amusement.

“What was the point?” she muttered.

“Yeah, I’d have it off you in no time,” he said and laughed.

Insupportable that he should be so smug. But she could have power over him too. She yanked down his zipper, found him, worked him.

He had her bent back over the tomb, his face between her breasts. Now she felt him shudder and surge against her, felt the gasp of his breath cool against her skin.

“God! Don’t stop doing that!”

She could have her own kind of revenge, tame him too. So. And so. And so. She snarled, her face rigid with passion, feeling him lose control, writhe and jerk against her.

Then he was striking her hands away, grabbing her hips, ramming into her in one hard thrust. She clenched fiercely upon the thickness of him within her, heard him groan with pleasure, cried out herself with the ecstasy of it, her voice soaring away across the silent graveyard as hoarse and raucous as the cry of a gull.

Battering at each other, all nails and teeth and that unbearably ecstatic violence, driving each other higher and higher. Then his fangs slid into her neck and that shattering rapture started. She came and came again helplessly, felt him jolt and shudder within her, felt the flood of his come cold inside her.

A long while later, he withdrew both cock and fangs, but his weight was still heavy upon her as she lay limp and exquisitely satisfied upon the tomb. She felt the prick of his fangs light upon her neck.

“I could keep going,” he murmured against her skin. “Drain you. Think, Slayer. That would be the easy way out, wouldn’t it? To die in ecstasy. Just slip away. Surrender to that temptation. It would all be over. So easily. So sweetly.”

And that was the real temptation.

“Do you want it? Shall I?”

There was a long silence. Then:

“No!” she breathed in sudden realization. “No. I...don’t want to die.”

She could have let that Chiriwan’s poisonous claws strike her and she hadn’t. She could let Spike drain her and she wouldn’t. Unknown to herself, she had somehow made a decision. Chosen to live.

He raised his head and looked down at her, smiling faintly. “‘Do not go gentle into that good night...Rage, rage against the dying of the light.’

“That was what you were after all along, wasn’t it?” she whispered. He had dragged her back from that brink. Mocked, scorned and harassed her back, where gentleness would only have thrust her over it. “Why? Why did you do it?”

“I don’t like waste, Slayer.”

But that couldn’t be all of it. He saw the doubt in her eyes and laughed under his breath.

“I’m a vamp. I’m evil. There’s no fun in providing death to one who wants it. The fun lies in taking away what’s dearly desired.”

“So now you’ll kill me?”

There was a tiny pause, then he shrugged. “Now you’ll have to be on guard, Slayer.”

Now things might work out, thought Spike, lying in bed hours later after she had gone. Now maybe he could get what he really wanted from the Slayer.

He laughed wryly, then had this strange feeling. Of whooshing through space.

And then he was staring up into a familiar face. That of the young, blond, nancy-boy vengeance demon.

You sonofabitch!” snarled Spike.



TBC


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