Payback by dreamweaver
Summary: SunnyD Icon On his way back to Dru after ‘Lover’s Walk’, Spike suddenly finds himself transported to his crypt the night after ‘Smashed’. Horrified that he, a master vamp, should have been tamed and furious at how he’s been treated, he blames Buffy for everything and is determined to pay her back in spades. Winner of Best Drama and nominated for Best Romance and Best Plot at the Sunnydale Memorial Fanfiction Awards!
Categories: General NC-17 Fics Characters: None
Genres: Romance
Warnings: Adult Language, Sexual Situations
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 7 Completed: Yes Word count: 35513 Read: 37438 Published: 10/17/2009 Updated: 10/22/2009
Chapter 3 by dreamweaver
Chapter 3


Garlic wouldn’t keep him away. Besides, she was in no danger in her own house where Dawn and Willow would come to investigate at the sound of any disturbance. She ripped down the ropes of garlic that in a panic she had hung all around her room. Stupid. Stupid. He wouldn’t take her by force. He didn’t need to. Not when all he had to do to turn her insides to molten lava was to touch her.

What he wanted was her surrender. For her to shamefully give in to her own desires, so that he could mock her for it after.

It was Saturday night. Anya suggested they all go to the Bronze and Buffy agreed because she thought everyone needed to lighten up a little after the tensions of the last few days. Willow almost refused to go, embarrassed at what the Scoobs might think of the way she had behaved, saying she would babysit Dawn instead and try to find out more on the internet about that frost demon who had frozen the guard at the museum and stolen that diamond.

“I’m letting Dawn go over to Janice’s place tonight,” said Buffy. Dawn was in a pissy mood over her fractured arm, angry not only with Willow who had caused it, but also with Buffy because Buffy hadn’t prevented it from happening. Though Buffy didn’t know what she could have done to prevent it. But Dawn was never one of the most logical of people. Buffy hoped that spending some time with her friends would make up for it.

“Still...” said Willow reluctantly, clearly believing that she didn’t deserve to have fun.

“Tara might be there,” murmured Buffy and, as could be expected, Willow capitulated at once.

Tara was indeed there. Willow went straight up to her.

“I screwed up,” Willow said. “Real bad.”

“Well, at least you finally see that, sweetie,” said Tara gently. “That’s a beginning.”

“I have to stop using magic. Will you help me, Tara? I need help.”

“Of course I will. Come and sit down and we’ll figure something out.”

“Now maybe we’ll get somewhere,” said Buffy, watching the two of them talking quietly at a secluded table.

“Cold turkey’s tough,” agreed Anya. “Tara might get her through it. But I wouldn’t count on it. Highs like that are really hard to pass up. So tempting.”

“Oh, yeah,” muttered Buffy. “Just have to focus on one day at a time.”

“Focus on the frost demon,” said Xander. “We’re still getting nowhere with that. Anya and I are going crosseyed wading through books looking for it. I wish Giles was here. He’d have found it right away.”

“You’re so right.” Buffy sighed deeply. Giles had picked the worst time in the world to return to England. Why now? With her just resurrected and struggling even to exist and endure the world around her. Would she have given in to her lust for Spike if there had been one other person around who understood and supported her? “I wish he were here too.”

But Giles wasn’t and Spike, that temptation, was. She jumped as she caught sight of him leaning against the wall a few yards away. He smirked at her and she turned a cold shoulder on him. Maybe it had been a mistake to come to the Bronze. It just gave him the opportunity to stalk her again.

“He might be branching out,” Xander was saying.

“Huh? Who?”

“The frost demon.” Xander gave her a puzzled look. “Are you listening, Buffy?”

“Uh, yeah, sure.”

“It was in the papers. An ATM got ripped off over on Dorset Street.”

Buffy frowned. “Sounds like a human, not a demon thing. Don’t they have security cameras blanketing those things? They should have a picture.”

“Yeah, but all the cameras caught was a blur, some dark shape moving really fast. They can’t make it out even when they go frame by frame. Then the whole front of the ATM was yanked off and the money containers taken. They found them later lying in a ditch with their lids smashed in. Money’s gone, of course. No fingerprints.”

“Iced up?”

“No. But still. It had to be a demon. No human could have moved that fast. And this frost demon seems to go after things like diamonds, so how much you wanna bet that’s what it was?”

Buffy caught sight of Spike out of the corner of her eye. He was grinning. A horrible suspicion entered her mind.

“Enough!” said Anya in exasperation. “No more about that frost demon. I’ve had it up to here looking through moldy books for that stupid thing! It’s Saturday night and I want to have fun. We’re going to dance.”

She grabbed Xander and yanked him onto the dance floor.

“Talk to you about it later, Buff,” he called over his shoulder.

“Tomorrow,” snapped Anya.

Buffy had already forgotten them. She was advancing on Spike.

“Tell me you didn’t rip off that ATM,” she growled.

“I didn’t rip off that ATM,” he parroted obediently in a singsong voice.

“Spike...!”

“Do you really think I’m gonna tell you different?” he mocked.

“Did you or didn’t you?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I said no, so why should I bother? Can I buy you a drink?”

“All of a sudden you’ve got money?”

“Luck was a lady tonight. Loaded dice come in so handy.” He waggled his brows at her, then laughed, giving her a sideways glance through half-lidded eyes. “Prove it, Slayer.”

“If I thought...”

“But you do think. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. But you’ll never know for sure. And I’m evil, aren’t I? All these months wasted trying to be good and never even getting a ha’penny’s worth of credit for it.” He laughed scornfully. “No more. Back to being bad again. Pays off a lot better and it’s more fun.”

“Is that why you’re stalking me again?”

“Again? Yeah, I’m stalking you now, but I wasn’t before.”

“Sure you were.”

“No, no. I was just watching your back. Thought I was in love with you. Turned me sappy, you did. Gotten over that now. Now I just wanna fuck you.”

He laughed at the glare she gave him.

“In love,” she said contemptuously. “Still stuck on that one note. Vampires can’t love, Spike. Everyone knows that.”

“Another pearl of wisdom from your Council of Watchers. Everyone meaning you and your Scoobies. The bunch of you who don’t know your arse from a hole in the ground. Don’t tell me what I can or can’t do, pet. I loved Dru for a hundred and twenty years. Even she tried to tell you demons can love. Not wisely perhaps, but well. But you know better, don’t you? You being such an expert on love, you with your three failures behind you.”

She flushed hotly. “You can’t love without a soul!”

“Bollocks. Angel can’t love without a soul. And we all know what a fine, upstanding bloke he is. You’ve always had a bleeding tragic taste in men, Slayer.”

“And you’re the unliving proof!”

“I’m not one of your men, pet. Not any longer. Maybe I was before I realized what a cold-hearted bitch you are. But that’s immaterial now. Not relevant. All we are to each other is a good fuck.”

There was no talking to him when he was like this. She spun on her heel and walked away.

He had actually made her feel guilty yesterday morning when she had called him ‘convenient’ and seen what she had thought was hurt in his eyes. Thinking he’d been hurt! Imagine! God, she was a fool! Thinking she had wronged him. Yes, she had used him, used the feelings he thought he had for her so that she could finally feel something, anything. She had regretted that and a lot of her anger the next morning had been to hide her guilt even from herself. Justify it. A common psychological trick. Hadn’t Professor Walsh’s lectures covered that? The guilty wriggling out of their shame by transferring it into resentment against the one who made them feel it.

But there was no need for guilt, was there?

She had never read people well, had always been someone who tended more towards action than introspection. But she had thought she knew Spike.

He had seemed, well, fragile to her ever since that time he had chained her up and tried to get her to say she had some feeling towards him. He had seemed vulnerable. She had denied it fiercely, denied his protestations of love, denied all the ways he had tried to help her ever since. Seeing him the way he was now made her realize that he really had been trying to do good this last year. She had relied on him to protect Dawn, turned to him for support after she had been resurrected, used those feelings he professed even while denying them.

Then that night had happened. And for him, it seemed, it had been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

This was the real Spike, about as fragile as rawhide. She’d been fooling herself when she had thought, way down deep in the unacknowledged recesses of her mind, that he was anything else. Something in her mourned the loss of the steady support that he had been, that...friend.

A cool hand brushed her back, bared in the halter top she was wearing. She jumped a mile.

“No more pretense at lily-white purity, huh?” he purred in her ear. “Very nicely exposed once more. The real Buffy Summers. Pity you’re wearing pants though, instead of that very convenient skirt that you pulled up so fast.”

She flushed at the memory. He wasn’t letting her walk out on him this time, the way he always had before. She should have known that this Spike wouldn’t allow himself to be dismissed so easily.

“Shut up!”

A cool fingertip ran up her spine, sending a shiver of pleasure through her.

“Like your back, Slayer. Like seeing it all sleek and naked like that.”

She jerked away and swung to face him angrily. “Stop touching me!”

“Ah, but you like it. Saw goosebumps run right up your spine.” His fingertips brushed her throat and his tongue curled behind his teeth. “Skin like silk. Sensitive too, yeah.”

A fingertip stroked lightly at the hollow of her throat, then his palm settled on the curve of her breast where the vee-neck of the halter top exposed it. She struck his hand away furiously and he laughed.

“Like to taste that again.”

“Get away from me, Spike, or I swear to God I’ll...”

“What? Stake me? Not when I’m turning you on, pet.”

“You are not!”

“Liar. Your nipples are hard. That material’s thin and I can see them. You wet, Slayer?”

She snarled and drew back her fist, uncaring that the entire Bronze would see her hit him.

“For Pete’s sake, Spike!” exclaimed Xander behind them. “Are you still trying to mack on Buffy?”

Buffy jerked away from Spike, flushing vividly.

“Wake up already,” said Xander scornfully. “Never gonna happen!”

Spike looked at Buffy, eyebrows raised in amusement. Buffy gritted her teeth and glared at him.

“Only a complete loser would ever hook up with you,” said Xander, not noticing Buffy’s head whip around or that her scowl had transferred itself intact to him. “Well, unless she’s a simpleton like Harmony or a nut sack like Drusilla.”

“I’m going to get some air,” said Buffy through her teeth and headed for the door.

“Now you’ve insulted her,” purred Spike. He had no idea who this Harmony was supposed to be and couldn’t be bothered sorting through the memories. But from the context and the Slayer’s furious expression, she must be some ditzy bird he had ended up screwing.

“What?” In puzzlement, Xander as usual fell back on anger. “Leave her alone!”

“Or what, wimp? I’ll have you to answer to?”

Xander grabbed the front of Spike’s tee shirt and shoved him back hard against the wall. “Don’t forget I can hurt you now.”

“Yeah, you’ve got real guts, haven’t you, pansy? You’re real brave when it comes to beating on someone who can’t fight back. Time for a little lesson, I think.”

Xander sneered. “Oh, you’re going to hit me? It’ll hurt you a lot more than it’ll hurt me.”

“It’s not gonna hurt me one bit.”

Xander’s grip loosened in surprise and Spike pulled swiftly away with that smooth vampire speed and fluidity, and was abruptly standing out of reach.

“Don’ know why I haven’t taught you the facts of life yet. Slayer turned me into a sap, I guess. Those days are over.”

“Xander,” said Anya nervously, seeing the way Spike’s eyes had gone cold and hostile, “I don’t think this is such a good idea.”

“Deadboy’s had his fangs drawn,” said Xander scornfully. “He’s gelded. Just a creampuff.”

“That you’ll choke on.” Spike gave him a wide, sweet smile that showed all his teeth. “Have a nice night, ponce.”

And stalked out, leaving Anya and Xander staring after him.

“I don’t like the sound of that,” said Anya.

“It’s all hot air,” shrugged Xander contemptuously. “He’s just like you now, Ahn. Can’t do anything a real demon can, not with that chip in his head.”

“I’m not a demon anymore, Xander. But Spike still is.”

“Aah, what can he do to me?”

“A lot,” said Anya worriedly. “A lot.”

Xander found that out that night. He woke in the middle of the night, feeling as if a heavy weight had settled on his chest. His eyes opened blearily, searching the darkness. There was something sitting on his chest—a dark shape about the size of a large dog. He gasped and it bent down and hissed in his face. Moonlight from the window glistened on two rows of sharp, fanged teeth.

Xander screamed. The thing leaped away and was gone, leaving a stinging pain on his chest.

“What? What?” gasped Anya beside him, jerking upright.

The bedside lamp flashed on. Xander flung his arm up against the sudden light.

“There was something in here! It was sitting on my chest! It...”

“You had a nightmare.”

“No! It was real!”

“Xander...”

“No! Look! Look!” Xander jerked his pyjama top open. There were three claw marks down his chest. “Its back claws raked me when it jumped away!”

Anya’s eyes widened. Then she frowned in concentration.

“It was a demon,” she nodded. “Not a big one. Just a little one. But still...”

“A demon! What was it doing here? What does it want?”

“It was probably just playing games.” Anya patted his shoulder. “The little ones like imps and gremlins do, you know. Get into places and cause trouble, then go away.”

The whites were showing all around Xander’s eyes. “What if it comes back?”

“Imps like that don’t tend to revisit, so I don’t think we’ll see it again.” She got out of bed. “We’d better clean up those scratches though. You wouldn’t want them to get infected.”

Xander was shuddering. “It was creepy! Horrible! It was sitting on my chest, Ahn!”

“Unpleasant,” Anya agreed. Having been a demon herself for a thousand odd years, demons didn’t give her the crawling horrors they did Xander. Bunnies did. She swabbed antiseptic over his chest, then taped the scratches. “There. That should do it.”

“Isn’t there any way to keep things like that out? Crosses or garlic or something?”

“That only works on vampires. It won’t come back, Xan,” she said soothingly. “Go back to sleep.”

She switched the light off. In the darkness, something sniggered, the sound like a trickle of dirty water.

“It’s still there!” Xander knocked over the lamp on his side of the bed in his haste to turn on a light.

Anya turned her lamp on once more. In the sudden brightness, they looked around. The room was empty.

“It’s here somewhere! Under the bed maybe!” He fell out of bed, got on his hands and knees and looked. Nothing. “Or in the closet!” He flung the closet doors wide. Nothing. “Where did you put that sword Buffy forgot?”

“In the hall closet.” Anya was leaning back on the headboard, a resigned look on her face.

Xander rushed out into the living room. Something giggled in the darkness.

“Oh, Christ!”

He slapped on the lights, grabbed the sword from the hall closet, then rushed around the whole apartment, turning on every light and probing under sofas and into dark corners and cupboards with the sword.

“That’s not going to do any good,” called Anya from the bedroom. “You’ll never find it if it doesn’t want to be found. Come back to bed, Xander.”

Xander came finally and huddled into bed beside her, clutching the sword. “I’m leaving the lights on!”

“If you want.” Anya reached into the night table beside her and pulled out a sleep mask. “You shouldn’t have pissed him off.”

“Him? Who him?” Xander gaped at her. “You think that...Spike?

“Remember how he gave you that weird smile when he wished you a nice night? This can’t be a coincidence.”

She shrugged ruefully as Xander’s eyes widened in fury.

“That...that...!”

Anya pulled the mask over her eyes and settled down on her side. “I’d apologize if I were you.”

Xander had no intention of apologizing and every intention of beating Spike’s brains in. In the morning, he stormed down to Spike’s crypt. But the heavy wooden door was securely barred on the inside and there was no way of breaking it down short of using a battering ram, by which time Spike would cheerfully make his way out through the sewer pathways that Xander knew nothing about. Xander had to content himself with waiting for nightfall and Spike’s emergence.

The moment the sun went down, Xander charged back into Restfield. He was just in time to catch Spike strolling out of the cemetery, the indirect light still in the sky no danger to him.

“Hey, you!” Xander yelled and Spike turned to grin at him.

“If it isn’t the wimp. Seem a bit cranky this fine evening. Didn’t you sleep well last night? Black dog on your back? Or a gray one on your chest perhaps?”

“It was you! You did send that thing!”

“Friendly little critters, the Firoud. Do anything for a nice cut of meat, they will.”

Xander paused, horrified. “Human meat?”

“Nah. Slayer might object to that.” Spike smirked. “But Grathar meat’s good eating for the Firoud. One carcass is like giving them a whole cow. They were properly grateful. You’ll be seeing a lot more of them. Tonight and tomorrow night and the next n...”

“Call them off!”

“Make me.”

“Wait till I get my hands on you!”

But Spike just slid away down the street as Xander rushed him. Even walking backwards, his vampire speed and agility still kept him just out of Xander’s reach without any effort at all.

“I’ll get Willow to do a spell to keep them out,” Xander panted.

“Willow’s off magic, remember?”

“Tara then.”

“But you’ll still have to come out at some point. Can’t stay in your place 24/7. And when you do, you become accessible. Construction sites are such hazardous places. So many things to trip over or get whacked over the head with.”

Xander looked panicked. “You wouldn’t dare kill me! Buffy would...”

“Kill? Perish the thought. And miss all those banana peel moments you’re going to have? Gonna be so much fun watching all the pratfalls. Charlie Chaplin’s gonna be nothing on you.”

Xander stopped short and contemplated that prospect with horror.

“Might also want to watch what you eat and drink. Just a friendly warning. Never know what might be in it.”

“What?” Xander liked his food and that thought was really scary.

“Wicked sense of humor, Firoud have. Bathroom humor. Laxatives in your drinks, chili powder on your donuts. That kind of thing. Inventive little sods. Never know what they’ll think up next. Seems they’re getting a giggle out of the whole thing. They think you’re funny.”

“You...you...Wait till I get a crossbow! See how funny you think it is then!”

Spike’s face lost its amusement and went cold and hard. “Dust me and every day of your life will be a living hell. They’ll make sure of that. Even if you live to be a hundred. It’s a game to them right now. Dust me and you cross the line. It won’t be a game any longer.”

Xander just stared at him.

“I’m tired of your crap, Harris. I should have done this ages ago. But I’ve got a forgiving nature.” Spike smirked. “Doesn’t have to be laxatives they put in your food, wanker. Could be something a lot worse. Think about that. Because I’m through being a nice guy.”

“Buffy will take care of you,” Xander muttered, wildeyed. “She’s the Slayer. She’ll...”

“Wouldn’t count on it.”

“She will!” Beside himself with fury, Xander grabbed up a crumpled pop can lying beside a sewer grating and fired it at Spike.

Spike just leaned sideways and it flew past his head to clatter on the pavement behind him. But in that moment a skinny, three-fingered, gray arm shot out of the grating. Claws raked down the back of Xander’s calf. Xander screeched.

“Really have a learning disability, don’t you?” Spike sighed. “You get physical, they get physical. That’s the way it works.”

“We’ll see what Buffy has to say about that!” snarled Xander through gritted teeth.

“Tell her she’ll find me at Willy’s.” Spike shot him the bird cheerfully, then disappeared into the shadows.

“Perfect place to dust you,” muttered Xander under his breath and limped off to the Magic Box.

The girls were all there, Buffy and Dawn peering into a large carton full of oddments like candles and crystals that Willow and Tara were holding for Anya to rootle through.

“Are you sure you don’t want any of it, Tara?” Anya asked.

Tara shook her head. “I’ve got my own.”

“I can put them up for sale on consignment. Is that all right with you, Willow?”

“Yes,” said Willow glumly.

“I can understand getting rid of charms and things,” said Dawn. “But why candles? Everyone has candles.”

Buffy sighed. “To you and me they’re just candles, but to witches they’re like...bongs.”

Dawn looked disbelievingly at Willow and Tara who both nodded. Anya lifted a fertility god statue out of the box.

“That’s not bad,” she said, looking it over. “It’ll fetch a good price.”

“Oh, no!” exclaimed Dawn. “Not Kokopelli! I love him! And he was Mom’s!”

“The next few weeks are going to be crazy hard on Willow as it is,” said Buffy. “We can’t have anything around our place that might, you know, cause her to give in to...temptation, any reminder of...of what it is that she’s trying to stay away from.”

“But...”

“Anya could store him for you, Dawn, and you can have him back when Willow’s over the hump,” suggested Tara and Dawn looked happier, though Anya’s face fell.

“Buffy?”

Everyone looked around as Xander limped across the store towards them

Anya frowned. “Why are you walking funny, Xander?”

“You’re hurt!” exclaimed Tara, seeing the torn leg of Xander’s jeans and the scratches beneath it.

“This...thing! This demon clawed me!"

Buffy turned at once. “What kind of demon? Where?”

“Something called a Firoud. It...”

“A Firoud! But Firoud are non-harmful,” exclaimed Anya. “They don’t bother humans. They just live in the sewers and eat mice and rats and things.”

“It’s a demon! You’ve got to get rid of it, Buffy! It was in our apartment last night!”

“Oh, is that what last night’s visitor was?” Anya laughed. “Then there’s nothing to worry about, Xander. Firoud are mischievous, but they’re harmless.”

“Harmless! It clawed me!” He pulled up the leg of his jeans to show the scratches. “There and on my chest last night! It could have clawed out my throat! You’ve got to kill it, Buffy!”

“Oh, no,” Anya protested. “They don’t hurt anything.”

“It hurt me!”

Buffy was frowning. “I know about the Firoud. There must be a couple of hundred of them in Sunnydale, Xander, and...”

“What!”

“They breed as fast as feral cats and they’re all through the sewers. It would be a huge job getting rid of them and I wouldn’t want to because they cause no trouble and they’re actually very useful in keeping the vermin down. And it’s not fair driving them all out of Sunnydale just because one of them scratched you.”

“Hundreds!” said Xander blankly. “There are hundreds? That bastard!”

Everybody stared at him.

“What bastard?” asked Buffy.

“Spike!”

“Spike? What does he have to do with this?”

“Let me fix those scratches, Xander,” said Tara, bringing over the first aid box she had retrieved from under the counter.

He pushed her away impatiently. “Later, later...No, wait!” He grabbed Tara’s elbow. “You’ve got to do a spell! A spell to keep those things out of our apartment!”

Tara blinked. “Well, I can try, Xander. But that’s an awfully c-complicated spell.”

“Why should it be? It’s just like disinviting a vamp, right?”

“No, it isn’t. The pre-existing condition of any dwelling is ‘closed’ and people are able to come in because they’re essentially invited to enter by the owner, if you see what I mean. A public space like a mall or an arena is declared ‘open to all’ by its owners, so everyone is invited, including vamps. When you invite a vamp into your house, you’re really casting a spell on the house to allow that specific vamp. Disinviting him is just a return to the original pre-existing conditions and therefore it doesn’t need that much power.”

“My head hurts,” muttered Xander and Tara flushed hotly, realizing she might have sounded pedantic.

“She’s just trying to explain,” snapped Willow. “Disinvites use hardly any power. Keeping out a specific demon uses more. Keeping out an entire sub-classification of them, like all the Firoud, needs a huge amount of power.”

Tara nodded miserably. “And I d-don’t know if I...”

Willow put an arm protectively around her. “It’s okay, sweetie. It’s not like Xander’s in real danger.”

“I am!” yelled Xander. “Willow, maybe you...”

“No!” said everybody including Willow.

“What did you do to them?” Anya said suddenly. “The Firoud might play games, but they don’t actually attack humans. Did you hurt one of them, Xander?”

“No! I just threw a pop can at Spike! I didn’t even hit him,” said Xander bitterly. “But that thing clawed me anyway. Spike’s bribed them to attack me!”

Buffy spun. “What?”

“I told you to apologize,” sighed Anya.

“Apologize to him? For what?”

“For being such a jerk,” muttered Tara under her breath.

“Tara!” exclaimed Willow.

Tara blushed, but looked defiant when everyone stared at her. “Well, he’s always pushing Spike around and t-treating him so mean...”

“He’s a vamp!” snapped Xander defensively. “He’s just a thing.”

“He’s not a thing! He’s a person and he’s got feelings just like everybody else! You don’t have to act the way you do. I c-can’t really blame Spike for finally hitting back the only way he can.”

“Okay, everybody just chill,” said Buffy sharply as Xander opened his mouth to yell at Tara. God, Spike wasn’t even there and he could still get them at each other’s throats! “Let’s backtrack a little. Spike bribed the Firoud?”

“Yeah!” snarled Xander. “He said they’d do things to me on the site and...and put things in my food and...”

“Right,” said Buffy dangerously. “He just crossed the line. It’s not the Firoud I have to get rid of. It’s Spike.”

“Well, all right!” said Xander with deep satisfaction. “I knew you’d see it my way!”

Dawn tried to stop her. “Buffy, you can’t!”

“I’ve had it with him.”

All four girls were looking upset. She ignored them and stamped to the door.

“He’s at Willy’s,” Xander called after her.

He wasn’t at Willy’s. Willy told her that Spike had just picked up a couple of bottles of booze and left, saying he was heading back to his crypt. The crypt’s door was closed, but not locked when she got there. Buffy kicked it open and strode in.

“Come in,” said Spike dryly from where he was pouring himself a drink. “Don’t bother to knock.”

“This time you’ve gone too far!”

He laughed and sipped at his glass. “That pussy never can fight his own battles, can he?”

“Setting the Firoud on him! That’s low!”

“Shoving me around when I can’t fight back, that’s low. But you’re the real expert on doing that, aren’t you, cutie? What a shame it no longer applies.”

“I want you out of Sunnydale,” she said through gritted teeth. “Away from all of us, out of my life, off the face of the goddamned planet!”

“Don’t care what you want, Slayer.” He tilted an amused eyebrow at her. “How you gonna make me?”

“You get out or I stake you! Simple as that.”

“Is it? How you feeling, Slayer? All charged up? Blood running hot? Yeah. World’s got color now, doesn’t it? That’s why you’re really here. Because I make you feel. You don’t like what you feel, but what’s that got to do with anything? Hatred’s a feeling. Anger’s a feeling. Lust. Pain.”

He saw too much, knew too much.

“You won’t dust me, pet. What, and lose all that? I’m the only one who can make you feel. We both know why you’re really here. You’re here because you wanna get fucked.”

She snatched out her stake and flew at him, snarling.


TBC
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