Author's Chapter Notes:
Spike, Buffy and company aren’t mine. I just like to play with other people’s toys. I promise to return them happier than they were when I borrowed them.
Chapter 2 – The Beginning of the End

Spike gawked at her, speechless for once. ‘She’s offering me Slayer blood?! Is she going to let me off the hook after all, or does she just need me strong so she can use me again?’ In either case, he wasn’t going to take her up on it. ‘Things’ve certainly changed over the past few months,’ he thought wryly. ‘Now she’s offering herself and I’m turning her down. Dru’d get a laugh out of that.’ Aloud, he finally answered with a mild, “No thanks, love. The bagged stuff is human, it’ll work fine.”

Buffy had had second thoughts the moment she said it, horrified that the words had slipped out of her mouth. When Spike turned her down, though, her thinking did an abrupt about face. ‘Who is he to reject my blood when I say I’ll donate it to him?’ Placing the bag back in the fridge and closing the door, she walked over to him, and with hands on hips, said sternly, “Spike...”

His face flattened into an expressionless mask. “No. I won’t drink you.”

His turn of phrase set her back a bit, ‘He won’t drink me...’ She hesitated a moment, then pushed past the feeling of danger in that thought and leaned over him scowling. “You need me!” Even as she said it, Buffy wondered why she was pushing it. Why didn’t she just let it go and be glad he’d turned her down? Looking over his injuries and noting his struggle just to remain sitting up, she thought, ‘He really does need me.’ Buffy surprised herself by realizing that she wanted to help him this way.

Spike flicked his good hand in negation. Angry with her for tempting him, he almost lashed out, ‘Do you know what you’re asking for, you stupid bint?’ He bit his tongue and stopped himself just in time. No sense in insulting her even before he was forgiven for his last blunder. Instead he just ground out, “NO! I won’t do it! Leave off, Slayer,” and lapsed into another coughing fit.

Buffy humphed and sat down next to him. She scrutinized him for a few moments, trying to decide the best strategy to wear him down. He’d coughed up blood that time, and looked like he was hanging onto consciousness by sheer determination. ‘Angel wasn’t so reluctant when he needed my blood,’ she thought morosely. What that said about the differences between them, she didn’t want to examine.

Considering him, she decided to go the sensuous tease route. He’d reacted strongly to that when chained in Giles’ tub. Pulling the neckline of her blouse away from her throat and tilting her head to give him good access, she ran her middle finger down the line of her carotid artery. “Don’t I smell good to you? Don’t you want me?” she asked sulkily, lower lip thrust out, gazing at him from under heavy eyelids.

Spike almost roared with frustration. His eyes flashed yellow as his look roamed greedily over her face, snagging on her pouting lips, then hesitating at her throat before dragging his gaze away and flinging himself down facing the other direction. Growling as much in pain as aggravation, he barked, “You know better than that, you know I want you! And you know how dangerous it is to offer yourself to a vampire. Grow up, little girl!”

Embarrassed by that accusation, Buffy flushed hotly and lost her temper. She grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him roughly onto his back. Ignoring his pained moan and muttered “Bloody hell, Slayer,” she glared into his eyes and snapped, “Conceited, much? I didn’t offer myself, just some of my blood so you could heal!”

“Same thing,” he snarled right back at her, eyes cold and frozen, his expressionless ‘William the Bloody’ face very much in evidence. Buffy recognized that look. He wore it when he was at his angriest and most determined, when he was deadliest.

Strangely enough, Buffy knew that he wouldn’t kill her. He was angry with her because she was putting herself in danger. He was actually trying to protect her. He DID love her! That insight broke through her consciousness in an overwhelming wave. She suddenly knew that his feelings were real. How that could be, when the Council of Watchers was so sure that without souls, demons couldn’t have true emotions, she didn’t understand. She could use it though; it gave her the upper hand.

“Listen up, Spike. Do it for Dawn. I need you strong and whole to protect her from Glory.” Softening as he threw her a tormented look, she added, “Please. I know you can do it without hurting me. You have more control over your demon than any vampire I’ve ever met.” Even as she said it, she realized it was true. If ever there was a Master Vampire, it was William the Bloody, for he was master of his demon.

Spike sighed and covered his eyes with his good arm. He had his answer. She wanted to use him. Of course she did; he should have known. But she’d found his Achilles heel. For love of the Slayer and her sis, to protect the little bit he couldn’t deny them. He lay there motionless as his attitudes rearranged themselves. He could work with being useful; it meant that she trusted him. Eventually, he could build trust into something more; and yes, he could do the deed without hurting her, he admitted to himself. He was no Angel with Jack Squat for self-control. His rejection of drinking her healing blood slowly drained from him, and acceptance took its place. Buffy was beginning to fear that he had passed out again when he finally murmured, “O.K.”

Calm and impassive on the outside, inside Spike was now exulting. He’d realized the significance of her blood offering. He was going to have his third slayer! Not in the sense of killing her, for this one he would HAVE. ‘She’s going to be Mine!’ his demon roared. He knew it, had subconsciously known it from the moment she offered herself. Part of him had tried to be noble and say no; that part of him still wanted to shield her from himself. But what was a poor wounded vamp to do when she insisted?

Before the night was over, she’d be his! His predator instincts had kicked in, sensing the “kill”. Soon she’d be his in every sense of the word.

‘The Hellgod of Skank did me a good turn when she nearly offed me.’ A small evil smirk broke through at the thought of Glory’s rage at helping him. ‘She let me prove to Buffy that I love her, and that poked a hole in the girl’s armor that not even the bot could plug!’ It was the beginning of the end for the Slayer’s resistance to him, and the end was coming rapidly.

Straight-faced again, Spike sat up slowly, cradling his arm and asked, “Help me straighten a few bones out so they’ll heal properly?” Buffy picked up a bottle of Jack Daniels from the nearby ledge and handed it to him. He took a few swallows; then set it down next to him.

Taking his arm, one hand above the angulation and one below it, Buffy stabilized with the upper hand and pulled from the other end, letting the bone ends settle into their proper place as she relaxed the tension. Spike groaned and lay shaking as she splinted the fracture with stakes and strips torn from the Levis lying at the foot of the coffin.

Handing the bottle over again, this time she had him chug the entire thing. “To loosen you up,” she explained and asked if he knew the name of the arm bone that was broken.

“Humerus,” He panted shortly.

“I am so not being humorous,” she protested, “How could you say such a thing? I don’t think your broken arm is funny at all!”

“You are such a blonde,” he snorted, and she took advantage of his distraction to quickly pull and rotate his shoulder. He roared in agony as it popped back into the socket. Next she wrapped the arm close against his body to keep the shoulder in place while he healed.

Once Spike had caught his breath he accused, “You did that on purpose! Where’d you learn to get me all loose and sidetracked, and then do that pull ‘n twist thing?”

“Watchers do have some use,” Buffy replied archly. “First aid was part of my training with Giles.”

“Huh. I’d say setting bones and snapping dislocated joints into place was a bit more than first aid,” Spike muttered; then glancing at her smug look, he smiled. The girl wasn’t stupid. “Let’s do the rest of this downstairs, yeah? That way we won’t be totally exposed if some git should barge in in the middle of it.”

“Makes sense,’ Buffy answered, feeling a twinge of guilt. They all had a bad habit of just walking into Spike’s home; no one bothered with knocking. “O.K., up you go,” she said as she helped him stand.

His shirt fell to the ground and Buffy’s eyes strayed momentarily below his waist. She blushed hotly and dithered in confusion. ‘Ack, you’d think I’d never seen a naked man before. Well O.K.,’ she qualified to herself, ‘so I’ve never seen such a prime specimen.’ Quickly glancing away, she pretended not to notice his burgeoning erection.

As he watched her, the increased heat coming off her body sent his demon into an uproar. ‘Hurry, hurry, hurry, want you, take you, have you, mine, Mine, MINE,’ it chanted, and his body reacted accordingly. He clamped a firm hand over his libido and his mouth. His status with her was too shaky. Now was not the time to rush, or to tease her with suggestive remarks.

Buffy awkwardly got him down the ladder. Once there, she took in the king size bed with red satin sheets and glanced at him sardonically. “More comfortable down here than upstairs as well, eh?”

For once he didn’t feel up to verbal sparring. The move to the lower level had been grueling. After a few deep breaths with teeth clenched and eyes closed, he lay down carefully, groaning as broken bones were jarred yet again. Buffy flipped the sheet over him more to preserve her own sense of modesty than his. She cleared her throat and glanced around the chamber, avoiding his gaze.

He pushed himself up against the headboard and watched her fondly, caught between amusement and arousal over her response to his nudity. As he sat up, the sheet pooled around his hips, and Buffy’s eyes were drawn to his sculptured chest and abdomen before she turned away again.

Spike patted the bed beside him. “Come sit down, green eyes, I need to explain a few things to you. You might change your mind about healing me afterwards.”

She sat down on the edge of the bed and looked at him warily, rubbing her arms in an attempt to get warm in the chilly room.

He picked up the satin comforter from the end of the bed and wrapped it around her shoulders, then took her hand and turned it palm side up, running his finger lightly along the radial artery. She shivered at the cool touch. Oh crap. He was doing it again, getting her all hot and bothered. She started to pull away, but he resisted, murmuring “Slayer...” and she reluctantly left her hand in his. His stroking finger stilled and rested on her pulse point. “When I take your blood, if I do it from here at your wrist it could cause you pain, which would make the chip fire. In order to get past the chip I need to make it good for you. I can do that better from your neck,” his eyes bored sensually into her, tongue peeking out to touch his upper lip.

Buffy frowned and asked suspiciously, “How do you know the chip won’t fire if it’s ‘good’ for me?” Had he found a way around the chip and was killing people anyway? Righteous indignation started swelling in her.

‘Oops, didn’t expect her to catch that. Thought she’d get hung up on the “need to make it good” part. No, the girl isn’t stupid at all. She’ll be a worthy mate.’ Spike smirked but the pain in his ribs discouraged him from laughing with delight as he wanted to. “Such an ambivalent little puss,” he crooned, “one minute you trust me, and the next you don’t.”

Eyes snapping, she jumped up, now feeling deadly herself and repeated slowly, “How. Do. You. Know?”

Spike recognized the lethal intent in her face, and his gaze became rapt, his entire being focused on the Slayer within her. Loving that fierce element of her, feeling no fear of it, his tiny answering smile was sensuous, dangerous. Eyes dropped to half mast, he studied her for a few moments; then he shrugged, and turning back to a lighter mood, answered candidly.

“Back when they first chipped me I sussed it out. Long as I don’t take too much, I can ‘nip ‘n sip’ while playing.” He couldn’t resist waggling an eyebrow and curling his tongue at her provocatively just to watch her bristle, when he said ‘nip ‘n sip’. Then he continued with, “The little darlings have an annoying tendency to become clingy, though, and as I’ve been focused on you for quite some time, I brown bag it now days.”

“Arghh!” Buffy yelled, stalking in a circle and once again pulling at her hair. “You infuriate me on purpose, don’t you?!”

This time Spike couldn’t hold his laughter in, “I can’t help it, you ruffle up so charmingly,” he chuckled before breaking off in a pained groan and clutching at his sides.

“So you’ve been with other women besides Harmony since coming back.” No matter that she’d claimed to hate him; she didn’t like it that he was playing around with other women, even for their blood--especially for their blood. Buffy marched back to the bed and glared at him, arms stiff at her sides and fists clenched. Jealousy and disgust pounded illogically together at the door of her heart.

Spike smiled tenderly at her, reaching up to pull her back down to him, then lightly touched a golden curl lying against her breast. “Not for a long time, not since falling for you.” Funny how he didn’t want to torment her for her jealousy, instead he wanted to comfort her. “I’m sorry I teased you so rudely, my love.”

Buffy wearily rubbed her aching temples, unable to find the will to tell him, yet again, not to call her ‘his love.’ Here was just another evidence that Spike was deadly, chip or no. They’d been fools to underestimate him all this time. ‘God, how did I get so “lucky” that he fell in love with me? That had pulled his fangs far more effectively than the chip.’

“So, pet. Want to call this off? I’ll heal with the bagged stuff.” Bowing to his inner Victorian gentleman, he gave her one last chance to avoid a blood letting. “You’ve done enough just setting my bones. You should get on home to the niblet.”

Buffy glanced up and her breath hitched as she became caught in his burning blue eyes. “But you’ll heal faster and stronger with Slayer blood,” she murmured, staring back at him.

He smiled slightly and answered vaguely, “There’s nothing like Slayer Blood.” He refrained from telling her that beyond being the most powerful restorative there was for a vampire, it also was the most potent aphrodisiac.

Buffy shivered under the sensuality of his gaze, and thought back to his earlier words. ‘’ll be “good”.’ Flashes of their engagement ran through her mind; this time she knew that his body would be on her as well as his hands and lips. ‘I can use some “good” in my life. Things were pretty tepid with Riley for a long time. Oh! And good excuse, it’s for a worthy cause. I need him strong--now. The poor thing looks ready to dust. He needs blood fast--slayer blood.’ Buffy smiled to herself, conscience salved. “O.K. Let’s heal you.”


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