Cloud 9 by facingthesun
Summary: Season 6. Buffy’s back from the dead and finds Spike very appealing, so much that she goes on a little trip with him.
Categories: General Fics Characters: None
Genres: Romance
Warnings: Adult Language
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 7967 Read: 1473 Published: 01/27/2006 Updated: 01/27/2006
Cloud 9 by facingthesun
Author's Notes:
I haven’t updated in awhile, but I haven’t stopped writing. In fact, I’ve been writing more than ever (and yes, it’s Spuffy, what else is there really?). I’ve been writing smaller stories for my friends on livejournal -- look it up, http://www.livejournal.com/users/facingthesun/ -- as Christmas presents. There aren’t all done, but I’m going to share them with you now as they are completed.

Thank you for reading. I hope to start working on my WIPs soon. (I don’t know about you, but I miss them).

Happy New Year!

--Jennifer (facingthesun)
Disclaimers: I own nothing. Thank you to Joss for letting me play without being sued. Lines borrowed from Afterlife
Gift for: cordykitten
Beta’d: yes
Finished: yes


Buffy drifted in and out of consciousness. She tried to pay attention to her sister, but found it too difficult; everything around her—everything that had happened to her—was too confusing.

“What-what’s that?”

“What’s what?”

Holding a hand to her chest, Buffy listened more carefully, but soon realized that the hum she was responding to had nothing to do with her ears. “Spike?”

“Spike? I guess he could be back by now…”

“Dawn! Dawn! Are you here? You’d better be here, bit!”

“Hey, good call,” Dawn laughed briefly, her grin fading when Buffy remained in a dazed state. “I’m here! Buffy, I need talk to him. Spike’ll be so happy to see you.”

“Does…does he live here too, along with you, Willow and Tara?”

“No,” Dawn smiled at the thought. “He’s still at his crypt, but he’s pretty much my babysitter. He never leaves me alone. It’s okay, though, I like spending time with him.”

“Dawn!”

“Give me a minute! Do you want to come with me downstairs, Buffy?”

“Yeah…sure.”
***

Spike slammed the door angrily and fumed as he paced the living room. “You are one lucky little girl. If you weren’t here—you scared me half to death—well, to more death—by running off like that!”

“Spike--.”

“I mean it! I could kill you! I could rip your head off one-handed and drink from your brain stem!”

“Spike,” Dawn whined. “Will you listen to me?”

“You’d better have a good excuse, pet. One hell of a good excuse.”

“Spike, will you just look?”

“What?” he demanded, following her pointed finger. “I've seen the bloody bot before. Didn't think she'd patch up so…” His eyes widened, jolted by a shot of recognition. Spike blinked in disbelief as the familiar sounds and scents of the real Buffy flooded his senses.

“She’s kind of, um…she’s been through a lot, but I think she’ll be okay.”

Barely hearing Dawn, Spike locked eyes with the Slayer as she took timid steps down the stairs. The closer they came to one another, the more self-conscious Buffy acted by avoiding his gaze, adjusting her shirt and smoothing her hair.

“Spike, are you okay?”

“I’m…what’d you do, Dawn?”

“Me? I didn’t do anything! I just found her!”

“Don’t yell, bit. Her hands…”

At Spike’s quiet comment, Buffy quickly hid her hands behind her back.

“I wanted to fix them, wrap them up. I was about to before you came. I don’t know how they got like that.”

“I do. Clawed her way out of a coffin, that’s how.”

“It’s what I had to do,” Buffy answered softly.

Shaking his head, still not sure how to react, Spike flashed her a warm smile. “I’ll take care of you. Come here, pet.” He carefully cupped Buffy’s elbow, part of him terrified that she’d break or that he’d wake from his unbelievable dream. “Dawn, get some stuff: bandages, disinfectant—hell, anything that looks useful from the bathroom.”

“Okay.”

Once her sister scurried away, Spike sat on the coffee table and inspected Buffy’s bleeding and bruised hands. Looking up, he grinned, noticing that she had trouble taking her eyes off him. “Hey, cutie. Long time, no see.”

“Spike? How long was I gone?”

“Well, a hundred forty-seven days yesterday and, uh, a hundred forty-eight today. Except today doesn’t count, now does it?”

Not responding, Buffy looked down at her hands.

“How long was it for you…where you were?”

“Longer,” she said after a pause.

“I know you’re a little shell-shocked, you must be, coming back when you did, and, uh, how you did, but,” he gave her fingers a squeeze, “if you’d like to talk about it, or anything really, you have me--.”

Having her undivided attention, Spike wanted to say more and he cursed when the door flew open. “You have them too, apparently.”

“Is she here?”

“She’s here! Is she a zombie?”

“We couldn’t find you. Are you okay, Buff?”

“Are you in pain? How are you feeling? What do you remember?”

Cringing at the assault of questions from the Scoobies, Spike looked at Buffy and sighed. “This is where I get off. It’s nice to see you again, love. You’ve been missed.”
***

Buffy backed into the corner, strangely upset that Spike had left, but she took comfort in the buzz that let her know that he was close and watching.

“I’m okay. I’m fine. I remember; y-you brought me back.”

She closed her eyes and winced, her few sentences launching a myriad of questions and comments from Willow, Xander, Anya, and Tara. They wanted to know everything at once: if she was hungry, if they could help her, how her experience was after death.

“Guys! Hey! Back off!” Dawn yelled, instantly becoming Buffy’s savior. “Leave her alone!”

“I think I…I just want to sleep.”

“That’s a good idea,” Tara said, adopting the same gentle tone that Spike had used earlier. “You should sleep, Buffy.”

“Right, you’ve had a long day. But, Buffy…be happy.” Willow came at her, a wide smile across her lips that struck Buffy as menacing. “You should be happy. We got you out. We really did it. We saved you.”

“I-I’m…tired,” Buffy said, taking a step back.

“Well, yeah. I mean, jet lag from hell has got to be, you know, jet lag from hell,” Anya joked, tightening her hold on Xander’s arm.

“My room is still…”

“Yeah—yes, it’s still you’re room,” Dawn answered. “Want me to help you?”

“No…thanks,” Buffy mumbled, heading upstairs.
***

Spike collapsed against the tree in the front yard, unable to pull himself together. His heart was hurting, bruised by intense happiness and the sharp burn of betrayal.

“They didn’t tell me,” he gasped, tears in his eyes. “They brought you back and didn’t have the decency to tell me.”

“I worked with them all summer. I fought with them side-by-side and they didn’t tell me about the fucking spell.” Spike kept his back to Buffy as he cried. “Seeing you back…God, words can’t even express how I feel, but that doesn’t change what they did.”

Like a ghost, Buffy drifted in front of him, her expression blank and colorless. With her head cocked slightly to the left, she stared as streams of wetness rolled down his face.

“Willow knew there was a chance that you'd come back wrong, so wrong that they'd have to...that she would have to get rid of what came back, and that I wouldn't let her. If any part of it was you, I wouldn't let her, that's why she shut me out.”

“Spike?”

“Yeah?” he sniffled, his body shaking.

“Did you really keep track of the days?”

“Yes. Yes, I did.” He wiped his eyes with the ends of his palms and continued to speak hoarsely. “I kept a count every night, because I saved you every night. Not when it mattered of course, but after that, every night after that. I’d see it all again and I’d do something different. Each time I’d be faster or more clever. I saved you a hundred and forty-seven times, in a hundred and forty-seven different ways. Every night I saved you, Buffy.”

“Willow thinks she saved me.”

“Well, if you haven’t noticed I’m not caring for that particular redhead as of late.”

“I feel cold.”

“I can fix that.” Trying to regain his cool, he took off his coat and draped it over her shoulders. “How’s that?”

Buffy closed her eyes briefly and inhaled the leather material. “I should be sleeping in my room…”

“Did my blubbering keep you up?”

“No. I couldn’t get comfortable. I don’t feel like I belong here.”

“Here, as in your place or here, as in the land of the mostly living?”

“The second one.”

“I haven’t recently visited a hell dimension, but if you’d like to talk, I know all about torment. We could leave here for a bit… Have you seen my bike? Nabbed it from tonight’s fight.”

Buffy tucked a fallen strand from her ponytail behind her ear and eyed the motorcycle suspiciously. “I’d have to be back before sunrise…”

“I can promise you that. It’d be no fun riding with a big pile of dust, right?”

She gave Spike a long look before pulling on his jacket completely, heading for the bike.
***

Buffy couldn’t believe how he made her feel. Though she’d only been back from the dead for a short period of time, she doubted that her friends were capable of making her feel as she did, comfortable and safe, hugging Spike’s waist with her cheek against his back.

“Where are we?” she asked, not bothering to open her eyes once the engine turned off. “I feel like we’ve been driving for hours.”

“We have, pet. Had to stop, the sun’s almost up.”

“Where are we?”

“Um, Arizona, I think. I got a little carried away. You were holding me so tight…couldn’t bear to turn back.”

“This is a hotel…”

“Well, yeah. Remember my problem with Mister Sun? He comes and I hide, it’s a beautiful relationship between us two.”

“I need to call them. I bet they’ve noticed by now.”

“Our room will have a phone.”

“Our room?”

“Do you have any cash on you? I only have a few bills on me, which means I can’t afford two rooms, but I’ll make a point to get two beds. If not, I’ve slept on surfaces worse than a hotel floor.” Looking over his shoulder, he gave her a smile. “Let go, sweet. I know I’m cute and cuddly, but as soon as the sun pops over that mountain…”

“You’ll be a cuddly big pile of dust. Sorry,” she mumbled, gracefully dismounting the motorcycle. “It was just nice to have something to hold onto…”

“Hey, whenever you need a something, look me up. You know I’m more than willing.”

“You’re more than a thing, Spike…but just barely.”

“Oh, what a dig that was!” he chuckled, taking her by the hand. “Slayer, your delivery is shot! I didn’t feel any disgust or hate or--.”

“It was a joke.”

“That was a joke?” he asked, laughing out loud seconds later. “Come on, cutie, let’s get you inside.”
***

“Two beds, huh?”

“I tried my best, short of draining that front desk lady. Don’t see how a place like this can run out of rooms. We’re in the middle of nowhere for crying out loud.”

Walking through the door Spike opened for her, Buffy sat on the edge of the bed and sighed. “Would you mind keeping the lights off?”

“Your eyes still adjusting?”

She nodded, tucking her hands between her knees. “All of me feels like it’s still adjusting.”

“Give it time. There’s no need to rush. You feeling sleepy? Hungry? Tense? You need me to rub your feet?”

The smallest smile curved Buffy’s lips when Spike sat next to her. “To think after all the questions tonight, you’re the only one worried about my toes.”

“Those selfish bastards, neglecting your sweet piggies.” Biting his lower lip playfully, Spike reached for the room service menu. “If you were hungry, just look at all your options. You could get anything really. You want breakfast? They’ve got pancakes and French toast. You want a sandwich? A salad? Something terribly bad for you? Oh, let’s get a plate of fried vegetables.”

“Give me the menu,” Buffy said, taking it from him and scanning the pages with a wrinkled nose. “So, it’s normal that food sounds gross after being dead, right?”

“Let’s get chocolate cake.”

“I’m not even sure that my body works, Spike. What if there’s something missing?”

“What, like one of your organs?”

“Don’t laugh…”

“Pet, you’re complete.”

“I definitely don’t feel complete.”

“You need to eat and then you need to sleep. These are things that the living do on a regular basis. Now, what makes you the least bit queasy?”

“You can’t boss me around.”

“Oh, yes I can. If you don’t choose, I’m going to get you something nasty and then you’re gonna get force-fed. I’ll sit on you and pinch your nose.”

“Try it.”

“Was that a threat?”

“Yes.”

“Sorry, kitten. I’m just not feeling it.”

“Just order something. I’m going to the bathroom.”

“Good for you! That’s the spirit! That should prove to you that everything’s present and accounted for. But, Slayer, if something’s not there just holler and we’ll have a scavenger hunt.”

“Shut up, Spike.”
***

“How is it?”

“Pretty good.”

“Knew you’d like it. More ranch?”

Taking a piece of fried zucchini from the tray that Spike was holding on his chest, she dunked it in salad dressing before popping it into her mouth. “Since when did cheese become a vegetable?”

“Right after you kicked the bucket. It was a national—no global holiday.”

“Were you this funny before?” Buffy asked, her face deadpan as she pulled apart a stringy stick of fried mozzarella.

“Yes, see what you overlooked? Not only did you miss the fact that I’m downright cuddly, you also failed to recognize my wit.”

“Spike, I don’t want to eat anymore.”

“Okay, want me to move so you can get under the covers?”

“I’m still not very sleepy. You can sit next to me while I watch TV.”

“What if I’m sleepy?”

“Then I’ll take the risk of you snoring. It’s a big bed. I’m not scared. Touch me and I’ll kick your ass.”

“What if I fight back?”

“Do you think your chip won’t recognize me as human? God, that would not surprise me. I’m a Slayer twice resurrected… Surely Riley’s commandos never thought you’d come face-to-face with something like me. I don’t feel human…I feel like a big undead freak.”

“Welcome to club,” Spike laughed, putting the empty tray aside. “But really, you’re more human than ever and no more of a freak than you were before.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“You’ll feel better soon I bet. You’re not in hell any longer and--.”

“What makes you so sure of that?”

“Well, only time will tell, but there’s not a doubt in my mind you’ll get past this ordeal.”

“Spike, why do you think I was in hell?”

“Ah…because you were…weren’t you?”

Buffy sighed and stroked the bandage on her hands. “No.”

“W-what?”

“I get why you’d think so, or why Willow would, it’s because I sent Angel to a hell dimension.”

“Buffy… Where were you?”

“All I know is that I was happy,” Buffy mumbled. “Wherever I was, I was so happy and so at peace. I… knew that everyone I cared for was alright. They were good…fine; I knew it, I felt it. Time didn't mean anything. Nothing had form, but I was still me, you know? I was warm, loved, finished. I was complete. I don't understand theology or about other dimensions, or any of it really, but I think I was in heaven.”

“And they brought you back…”

“I was torn out, pulled out of a paradise by my friends.”

“Buffy, I…”

“You don’t have to say anything, in fact, I don’t want you to. You can’t tell them. They can never know. Never.”

“I’ll kill them. I’ll kill them all. Those fucking idiots…”

“No you won’t,” she said, standing up to take off the jacket she was borrowing and her shoes before pulling down the covers on the left side of the bed.

“Oh yes I will. They need to pay. They can’t just rip you out of heaven and force you back to life because they’re greedy. I know how painful it was to miss you, but…”

“You won’t hurt them because I need them. They’re my friends, Spike.”

“I’ll get you new friends.”

“Spike…stop.” Settling under the sheets, she caught his gaze and they stared at each other in silence for minutes until he looked away.

“Fine. You win,” he grumbled.

“Where are you going?”

“To get extra blankets and pillows for the floor.”

“We can share the bed, Spike.”

“No…no, thank you.”

“You said that you’d take care of me. You said if I needed something—someone to hold onto…” In the dark room, Buffy tried not to sniffle even though she knew Spike could see the tears in her eyes. “God, I don’t know how I should be feeling and then the feelings that I am having…I don’t understand them.”

“I’m not sure that this is such a good idea,” he admitted quietly, returning to his spot at her side. He let out a hushed moan once Buffy rested her head on his chest. “I’ve seen my share of soaps with your mother, pet. One thing always leads to another… First there happens to be only one bed, then she’s kind enough to let him under the sheets, next comes the innocent tosses and turns, the seemingly pure sleepy touches…”

“Spike?”

“Buffy?”

“No more talking. Hold me.”

“Alright,” he sighed, kissing her brow. “Bet you think this is hell compared to where you were…”

“It’s bright, violent, and full of demons.”

“Not all demons are so bad.”

“No, not all demons are bad,” Buffy mumbled, scooting closer until all of her body was touching his.

“I’m going to do whatever I can to make you better, Buffy. You shouldn’t forget about your time at the pearly gates, but don’t let the loss eat you up. You’ll go back, just farther down the line.”

“Unless Willow decides differently.”

“Oh, there’s no way--.”

“Shhh… You’ve proved your point.”

“Which is?”

“Didn’t I say no more talking?”

“It’s good to see that one thing hasn’t changed, you’re still one snippy girl.”

“You’re unbelievable, okay?”

“In a good way?”

“Goodnight, Spike.”

“But--.”

Not listening, Buffy rolled away from him and was pleasantly surprised when Spike spooned around her backside.

“I’m sure this isn’t the best thing to say especially after our talk…” Taking a short pause, he combined back loose strands of hair from her face, “You might’ve been torn from heaven, Buffy, but I feel like I’ve been thrust right onto cloud nine. Having you here…you wanting me so close…this is all too good to be true.”

“Goodnight, Spike.” Turning her head, Buffy twisted to give his lips a tender kiss.
***

“We’re leaving soon, Dawn. When the sun goes down, we’ll hit the road. Big sis’ll be home before tomorrow’s breakfast.”

Hearing his voice, Buffy opened her eyes to the sight of Spike on the telephone. He was standing next to her in only a towel that hung loosely on his hips. “What time is it?” she asked, stretching her arms over her head once he put down the phone. “How long have I been sleeping?”

“Did I wake you? I’m sorry, pet.”

“It wasn’t a bad way to wake up. God, you’re pale. Here I thought lights were bright, your skin is enough to blind me.”

“You’ve slept for twelve hours straight,” Spike chuckled, sitting on the edge of the bed. “I’m guessing it was a good sleep?”

“You know better than I do. I can’t remember a thing. I kissed you and passed out.”

“About that kiss…”

“What about it?”

“We should talk about it.”

Yawning, Buffy rolled onto her stomach. “What would you like to know?”

“Okay…for starters, what did it mean?”

“I was saying goodnight.”

“Oh, really? Does saying goodnight usually involve tongues?”

“Yes, Spike. Speaking involves tongue movement last that I checked.”

“Buffy, what did it mean?”

“I can’t talk to you now. Where are your pants?”

“You feeling skittish, princess?”

“I’m going to take a shower. Can we talk later?”

“How are you feeling?”

“Fine. Better.” Stepping into the bathroom, she picked up his clothes and tossed them on the bed. “Be dressed before I come out.”

“Buffy,” he came towards her and rolled his eyes when she closed the bathroom door in his face. “Buffy, talk to me. Things have never been this civil between us before. What does it mean?”

Barely opening the door, Buffy looked at him through the tiny crack. “I died, Spike.”

“I know that--.”

“And I’ve been breathing for not even twenty-four hours and you want to get into my pants.”

“I-I didn’t say that. When did I say that? You were the one all over me!”

“It was just a kiss! Kisses happen--.”

“Not between us. Kisses don’t just happen between us. Also, you let me sleep with you--.”

Closing and locking the door, Buffy propped against it for support. “You shouldn’t upset me. I’m in recovery, why are you trying to upset me?”

“I’m your enemy, why are begging for me you hold you?”

“Don’t be stupid. You haven’t been my enemy for years. You’ve been annoying, but that’s about it.”

“Open the door, Buffy.”

“Why?”

“Because…because I need my belt.”

“You lie.”

“I’ll bust it down.”

“You’ll pay for the door. You break it, you buy it.”

“Please?”

“Spike…”

“Open the door, Buffy.”

Unlocking the door, she crossed her arms and waited for Spike to enter. “It was just a kiss.”

“I don’t believe that.”

Once they were face-to-face, Buffy looked him up and down. “Thanks for putting on your jeans, but where’s your shirt?”

Instead of answering, he came at her and crushed her against his chest. Before Buffy could blink, Spike’s mouth was on hers and she found herself whimpering and responding wholeheartedly to his advances.

“Spike…”

“I love you. God, I love you. Last night was a bloody dream…today was the best fucking day. To have you close, to feel your warmth…your skin, your hair…lips…”

Overwhelmed by countless kisses, Buffy melted and enjoyed each and every touch from his mouth. “This… Spike, stop for a minute.”

“Stop?”

“I need to think,” she mumbled, not leaving his arms. “We’re moving too quickly.”

“How fast would you like to go? How slow? I’ll change my speed—hell, gimme rules to follow, or maybe some guidelines.”

Giving him a sideways glance, Buffy was surprised by how vulnerable he looked. “My only guideline is that we take things slowly.”

“How slow, Buffy?”

“I’d like to spend more time with you. I know I haven’t been back long, but I feel the most comfortable around you. I feel safe,” she admitted, almost embarrassed to look him in the eye. “I feel…loved.”

“Your friends love you.”

“Not in the same way.”

“Oh.”

“It’s not a bad thing. I just think we should work on our friendship…”

“Friends…well, it’s more than we were before.”

“…because no matter how much I want you, I’d like to take our time. I mean, last night we had our first conversation.”

“You want me?”

“Don’t be smug,” Buffy laughed quietly. Seeing his grin, she tilted her chin up to kiss him again. “You really are unbelievable.”

“And here you had to die before you realized it.”

“Go. I need to take a shower.”

“Sure you don’t need a helping hand?” Spike asked, wiggling his brow.

“Get out,” Buffy smiled, pushing him away.
***

“It’s too bad we couldn’t stay here.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah,” Buffy shrugged, playing with her food. They were sitting at a diner and she was making every attempt to stall, not wanting to go to home too soon. “I wouldn’t mind staying here and just hiding.”

“Never thought I’d hear you say that, Slayer.”

“Even the Chosen One likes to take cover every once in awhile.”

“What would you be hiding from?”

“Well…I’m not sure. I have this feeling of dread every time I think about Sunnydale. It isn’t specific, just a general case of the wiggins.”

“Could you be nervous?”

“Maybe. It could be something prophetic too.”

“You see into the future?”

“Sometimes.”

“Dru had visions,” Spike said, sneaking food from her plate. “Hers were always on the button. She knew I loved you years before I figured it out.”

“And how did that happen, for you?”

“In a dream. We were fighting. You were gonna stake me, but the opposite happened, you know what I mean. It all went downhill from there after that dream.”

“Then you started stalking me?”

“Yup. Took your clothes, snapshots, little mementos of you.”

“That is so creepy, Spike.”

“I blame the fact that I’m soulless. When you don’t have a conscience, you seem to be controlled by either your heart or your cock. Reasoning, well, it gets pushed to the backburner.”

“I still can’t believe you had that sex-bot made.”

“Hey, she was useful in the end.”

“I saw what happened to her. I was so out of it and then, to see her pulled into pieces… It was bizarre.”

Spike reached across the table to caress Buffy’s hand. “There isn’t a lot that I regret, Buffy, but that bot…”

“You don’t have to lie.”

“She was always lacking, pet. She looked like you, but…but she was just a bunch of nuts and bolts.”

“She was a total airhead.” Clearing her throat, she did her best impression of the robot. “‘I live only to please, Spike. Spike, my rippled and toned boyfriend. You should really see him naked.’ Give me a break.”

“You did a good job acting like her that night in my crypt.”

“Our first kiss…”

Nodding, Spike drew lazy circles on her palm. “That gave me so much hope, pet.”

“You saved my sister. You let Glory beat you to a bloody pulp. You went head-to-head with a god. If those things don’t deserve a kiss, I’m not sure what does.”

“I’d do it again tomorrow, you know…for her…for you.”

“I know,” she muttered. “You’re sweet like that.”

“Now there’s an adjective that hasn’t been used for me often.”

“Do you ever stop with the prince charming routine?”

“I am what I am, baby.”

Rolling her eyes, she smiled softly. “We should probably get going.”

“If you really wanted us to stay here longer, I know a good, yet tiny fib we could tell your friends.”

“Mmmm…what kinda fib?”

“The bike broke down. Had to be put in the shop. The repair place is full of incompetent ninnies, who can’t get it fixed for a day or two.”

“That’s more than one lie.”

“What’s the worse that could happen?”

“Xander might drive to get me.”

“Bah, we’d give him the wrong directions.”

“What about Dawn? You promised that we’d have Froot Loops together in the morning.”

“She’ll be fine. She has school. The witches take good care of her when I’m not around. They know there’ll be hell to pay if anything happens to that girl on their watch.”

“We already checked out of our hotel…”

“We’ll get a new one.”

“With one or two beds?” Buffy asked, her smile growing wider as seconds passed.

“We’ll see about that, my lovely. But now, I’m going to ring the Scoobies and tell them the terrible, unfortunate news.”
***

“This isn’t moving slow,” Buffy gasped, pulling Spike’s shirt over his head.

“I can do slow.” He captured her swelling lips and slipped his tongue between them. Making a point to kiss her as slowly and thoroughly as possible, he chuckled once Buffy’s moans grew louder. “Like that, kitten?”

“I like you. I really like you.”

“Oh?”

“I did before I died, you made it so hard to not.”

“It’s the prince charming thing, yeah?”

“It’s much more effective than stalking.”

“Much, much,” he agreed, sneaking a hand under her shirt. He watched for her reaction while he stroked her flat stomach before inching towards her breasts.

“Just one word of protest is all it’ll take,” he whispered, fingering her nipples through her lacy bra. “I can wait. Like I said earlier, there’s no need to rush.”

“It’s hard not get caught up in the moment.”

“You’re telling me,” he said, rolling aside from where he had been cradled between her legs. Propping his head on his hand, he watched her as she watched him. “With the sun down, is there anything you’d like to do? We could take the bike for a spin…”

“And end up in New Mexico? No, thanks.”

“I’d rather stay at the hotel myself.”

“Spike?”

“Mmmm?” he asked, fingers outlining her bellybutton. “You’d think after the bot… Damn, Buffy nothing compares to you.”

“When was the last time you had something to eat?”

“Um, at the diner.”

“I’m not talking about when you took food from my plate, when did you last have blood?”

“Yesterday.”

“When?”

“Why the twenty questions, sweet?”

“Is there a place where we can get you some? You don’t look too hot.” Sitting up, she held her cheek to his forehead. “You’re hungry, aren’t you?”

“I’m not sure what you’re doing, pet, but--.”

“Shhh, I’m the Slayer remember? I’m used to be taking care of people, not being taken care of.”

“Okay,” Spike said, not about to complain as she pushed his head into her cleavage.

“There should be a phonebook in here. We’ll find you a butcher.”

“Pig’s blood. Yum. Can’t wait.”

“Do you know of any demon bars?”

“I might. They’re hours away though. We’d end up in the Land of Entrapment after all.” Though a portion of her chest was already exposed, Spike unbuttoned additional buttons until he was allowed to nuzzle more of her skin. “However, I can wait on that too. I have at least twelve hours or so before the withdrawals set in.”

“We’re staying here for two more days.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“Unless…do you want me?”

“Of course I do.”

“Spike, do you want to bite me?”

“Ah…is that a trick question?”

“What’s your answer?”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“I asked first,” Buffy teased. “Could you take just a little? Enough to make you not hungry, but enough not to drain me?”

“I wouldn’t hurt you, Buffy. I would never hurt you.”

“Okay.” Taking off her shirt, Buffy pulled back her hair and offered her neck. “I guess you can call this a test, but it isn’t just for you. I-I need to trust you—please don’t take that the wrong way; I want to see if I can trust you…with me.”

“Thanks for not putting me under any pressure,” Spike snorted, trying to hide his uneasiness. “Guess we should get comfy, that way when my head gets scrambled, I’ll have a pillow to fall back on.”

“Where do you want me?”

“Another load question…”

Buffy smiled and coyly took a seat on his legs. “How’s this?” she asked, scooting closer and casually wrapping her arms around his naked waist.

“Good.” Returning her grin, he moved her hair for a second time. “You positive this isn’t a trap, sweetheart? You’ve got me all nervous, what if I can’t perform?”

Chuckling, she kissed the corner of his mouth. “Be gentle. I know it’ll hurt.”

“It does the first time, but after that, not so much.” He examined her neck and whistled at the sight of her scars. “Guess I’m last in line at the all-you-can-eat Buffy bar.”

“First was the Master, then Angel, and then Dracula.”

“I deeply loathe each of those tossers.”

“None of the bites happened out of choice. The Master and Dracula used mind control and Angel, well, he was going to die and--.”

“And you saved him…pity.”

“Shut up,” Buffy giggled. “We going to do this or what?”

“I won’t hurt you. I love you.”

“I know.”

“Bet I sound like a broken record.”

“A little, but it isn’t something that’s so bad to hear.”

“Even when it’s coming from me?”

“Even when it’s coming from you, Spike.”

Taking her face between his hands, he kissed her until they were both able to relax. “I love you,” he said again, shifting into his vamp guise. “Close your eyes, baby.”
***

“Buffy, are you okay?”

“I’m not sure. How are you?”

“I’m fucking fantastic.”

“Guess that was a stupid question,” Buffy said, smiling softly at his noticeable glee.

“I haven’t taken a drink from the tap for years. Years, pet.”

“Compare a girl to a faucet, now that heightens the romance…”

“Thought you were remarkable before, but damn, after getting a taste… There has got to be only one thing on the planet better than feeding off a Slayer, and that’s got to be bedding one.”

“Are you speaking from experience?”

“I hope to. What do you say, kitten? Think we could get in a shag before our days here are up?”

Snorting, Buffy untangled herself from his hold. “You truly are unbelievable. And here I thought you changed. I opened myself up to you and—has this all been an act? Have you been forcing yourself to be decent and kind so you can do a Slayer?”

“Now, wait--.”

She rolled off the bed and continued to talk, not allowing Spike to get a full sentence out. “I should’ve known better. I should’ve known you couldn’t go from stalker to sweet, charming guy. God, I should’ve known…a hundred and forty-seven days, my ass.”

Gathering her earlier discarded shirt, Buffy headed for the bathroom, slamming and locking the door before Spike could stop her.

“Buffy! I was joking!”

“I don’t want to talk to you,” she said, examining her neck. Though it had hurt when his fangs punctured her skin, the marks were smaller than she’d expected. Though it had hurt, his chip never responded, making Buffy secretly worry if she’d come back wrong. And finally, though it had hurt, she couldn’t believe how gentle he was, how he’d held her tight enough for her to feel safe and secure in his arms, until all her feelings of contentment vanished once he opened his mouth to speak.

“Buffy, we need to talk.”

“You said enough.”

“Buffy…please. I was excited, a tad wound up, that’s all.”

“You were a pig.” Leaning against the door, she slid down to sit on the bathroom floor with her legs out in front of her. “In a few sentences, you reminded me why I couldn’t stand you for all those years. Why I pushed away any feelings that I did have for you--.”

“You had some?”

“Well, yeah. Like I said, it was hard not to. Slayer or not, I’m a girl and girls are always suckers for a self-sacrificing man. But then I never knew if you were absolutely selfless…”

“Doesn’t everyone have alternative motives for the things they do? Some admit to it and some don’t, but they still exist, Buffy.”

“And you just wanted to sleep with me.”

“In the beginning, yes, but that’s changed a bit.”

“Oh, really? Want else could you want?”

“Currently? I want you …well, I want you to love me, Buffy.”

Buffy took a deep breath, her heart swelling to twice its normal size.

“Buffy? Pet, are you alright? You never gave me a straight answer.”

“I-I’m fine.”

“When are you coming out? When are you going to let me apologize?”

“It was really a joke, wasn’t it? I overreacted…”

“No, I ran off at the mouth. It’s my fault.”

Sighing, Buffy got up onto her knees and opened the door to find Spike sitting against it as she had been. “Maybe I should apologize too.”

“There’s no need,” he said, turning to study her face.

“I am trying, Spike.” Crawling towards him, she settled next to his side. “There’s just so much happening at once.”

“List what’s on your mind. It’ll help.”

“Your chip didn’t go off.”

“Once we go home, you can have one of the witches look over the spell. Doubt they’d bring you back if it meant you’d be less human.”

“I’d like to see you, but I think my friends will throw major hissy fits if we date each other. They’ll accuse you of taking advantage and it’s not true. I don’t want them to be the reason why we can’t be together…or, that we can’t try to be together. ”

“We already have my smart mouth gunning against us, add your friends…”

“Trust me, I can forgive your smart mouth, but only because it’s oh-so-talented.” Feeling foolish, she gave him a quick kiss on the lips. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be a spaz.”

“Most of the time, I don’t mean to be a pig.” Picking Buffy up, Spike returned her to his lap. “I’m sorry too,” he whispered, treating her to a longer kiss.

“Did we just overcome our first argument?”

“Yes, but I doubt our next spat will be over something this trivial.”

“But on the bright side, if I need to kick your ass, I can and it won’t be such an easy fight.”

“True, true,” he chuckled. “You know, when we get home, we could keep things between us. Sneak around a bit, keep it hush-hush.”

“Don’t think I’m ashamed. I know they want me to be happy, but…”

“Your friends will object if you find happiness with me.”

“I’m positive they’ll warm up to you. I have.”

“And if they don’t?”

“Then we’ll have a problem,” Buffy said plainly, resting her head on Spike’s shoulder.
***

“God, I can’t wait to get out of these clothes.”

“Can I watch?”

“No.”

“Can I see what you bought?”

“No.”

“You think you can just take my wallet, buy whatever you please and then deny me a fashion show?”

“That sounds about right,” Buffy said, taking her full plastic bags into the bathroom.

“I’m never going into that store again. I’ve been in riots tamer than that place. All those crazy blue hairs…they should have licenses before they can handle a shopping cart. Or they should have little bells that jingle so you know to move away before they ram the cart into you.”

“God, could you whine any more? At least on the way here I could ignore you and claim that it was because of the helmet that I was wearing.”

“I knew it was an act! I knew you could hear me!” Spike exclaimed as he sprawled out on top of the unmade bed.

“So, I lied a little. Where’s the harm in that?”

At the sound of her soft yawn, Spike rolled over to find Buffy dressed in a thin cotton nightgown. “You bought that?”

“Among other things. Did you expect me to wear the same outfit for nearly a week?”

“Ah…no.”

“Do you like it?” Buffy asked, pushing him so she could get under the covers. “It’s not what I usually wear, but hey, Wal-Mart is no Victoria’s Secret.”

“I like it,” he said, captivated by the practically transparent gown.

“Thought you would.” With a sleepy grin, she closed her eyes. “Spending all this time with you is screwing with my head. My days and nights are so mixed up.”

“Uh, do you have anything on under that?”

“But then, I’ve never had a normal schedule. Who knows what I’ll do during the day. I can’t go to school. I’ll have to get a job…”

Without leaving her side, Spike kicked off his shoes and yanked off his t-shirt.

“And my nights, they’ve always been messed up because of slaying. Now, add in a nocturnal boyfriend…”

At the word boyfriend, he took off his belt and tossed it to the floor.

“God, I’m tired.” Buffy snuggled into his chest and curved her body against his side. “Can you believe that we go back tonight? This is our last full day together, the last day that we’ll have to be alone…”

“Yeah, wouldn’t want to waste it.” Taking an unnecessary breath, Spike walked his fingers up her thigh and to her hip. Once he confirmed her lack of underwear, he groaned and kissed the top of her head. “I wouldn’t dream of wasting this time together.”

“That’s what I was thinking. I love it how we seem to think alike.” Playing innocent, she hooked her thumb through one of the belt loops on his jeans. “There’s a lot that I love about you.”

“Such as?”

“Why name off a long list? It’ll just give you a big head.”

“True,” he croaked, struggling to stay calm as she unbuttoned his jeans and teasingly ran her fingernail up and down the zipper.

“I mean, why bother with a list when you only want to hear three words?”

“Buffy…”

“Don’t get too excited, I’m not sure if I can say it. It’s not that I don’t feel it, I’m afraid to say it.” Buffy brushed her lips against his chest before slowly pulling down his zipper with shaking fingers. “Horrible, horrible things tend to happen to the people I love the most, okay? Shit happens to them, or they just leave. And I need you. I know I didn’t really give my friends much of a chance, but…I just need you and I want you and—God, I really want you.”

“I won’t go anywhere.”

“You’d be stupid to now.”

Grabbing her wrists before her hands could slide into his pants, Spike pulled Buffy onto his body and captured her lips in a passionate kiss. “You sure about this?”

“I can’t remember ever being more sure about anything, Spike.”
******

“Three days, four nights stranded with Spike. God, Buff, if I could’ve gotten away from work…”

“It’s okay, Xander,” Buffy said, hands in her lap as she sat at the Magic Box with the group surrounding her.

“I’m just glad he didn’t try anything. You were vulnerable,” Willow pointed out. “We all know how he gets when you’re around.”

“He kept his distance. We watched a lot of TV.”

“I just can’t believe he took you away like that. It was practically kidnapping.”

“That’s probably why he isn’t here. Fang Boy doesn’t want to show his face because he knows we’ll give him a good talking to, taking our Buffster without permission. Tsk, tsk on that.”

“Last I knew, I could leave my house when I wanted.”

“Oh, hey, I was joking,” Xander laughed. “We were just worried, you know? You went through a lot and here ten minutes later you were hauled off to Arizona by some vampire.”

Buffy opened her mouth to protest, but Dawn was faster.

“Some vampire? It was Spike, guys. You trust him with me and not Buffy? The Slayer? He wouldn’t hurt her, not ever.”

“Dawnie, I don’t think we were worried about Spike hurting Buffy n-not in a violent way.” Tara explained until Anya interrupted.

“Oh, but don’t give her the wrong idea. Dawn, sex can be violent. Xander and Willow were worried that Spike took your sister to a hotel to have lots and lots of sex with her while she was still recovering from being whisked back to life. Do you understand?”

“It’d be hard not to,” Dawn muttered, eyes wide.

“Yeah, Anya, why don’t you just draw her a picture.”

“Will…guys…he was good to me.”

“Why am I so shocked?”

“Xander,” Buffy said, a little harsher than she had intended. “Really, he was…he was on his best behavior. We had separate beds, he didn’t try to peep at me in the shower, and he gave me space when I wanted it. He was good to me.”

“Maybe we should get him a fruit basket. I want to write the card. Dear Spike, thanks for taking three days out of your busy schedule of being a complete ass to--.”

“Seriously Xander, shut up!”

“O-okay…”

“Sorry, I’m…sorry. I’m tired. It’s been a long week.” Embarrassed because of her outburst, Buffy stood and gathered her bag and jacket. “I need some air. Then I’m going home.”

“Want me to come with?”

“No, Dawn, but maybe we can talk later. You can fill me in on things. Xander, I am sorry.”

“Hey, we’re all allowed our cranky days. No hard feelings.” To prove his point, he gave Buffy a hug.

“Oh, I want one too.”

“Do I have to hug her, Xander?”

“What about me? I’m her sister…”
***

“Where’s my hug?”

“What are you doing here? The sun’s up.”

“The light isn’t direct. Got my trusty blanket, just in case.”

“Did you hear everything that went on in there?”

“You stuck up for me.”

“I did.”

“Thank you. I didn’t ask for it, but I thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“And now for my hug. Hold me, cutie.”

Rolling her eyes good-naturedly, Buffy snaked her arms in Spike’s coat and squeezed his slim waist. “In Arizona you told me that you and Dawn redecorated your crypt…take me there?”

“I might take advantage of you,” he sang with a cocky grin. “You know how I get when you’re around.”

Buffy recognized his mocking and laughed before hungrily kissing his lips. “Little do they know, they have no idea how I get when you’re around, do they, honey?”

“You’d give them a shock, no doubt. I’m still stunned myself.”

“Should I pinch you? See if you’re dreaming?”

Spike groaned once she flirtatiously grabbed his ass. “And they think you’re the innocent one.”

“Those silly people. Where’s you blanket?” Finding the large square of fabric, Buffy wrapped it securely around his head, neck shoulders and led him into the sunlight.
***

The End.
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