The staff at the Bronze had oh-so-cleverly decided to go with Holiday in the Movies as the party theme and had pieced together a playlist based on various songs from various Christmas movies and musicals. While the premise itself was lame, the musical compositions the staff had chosen were pretty awesome.
The place was kicking as Buffy had expected. The entire town had shown up.
Getting ready for the party had been an interesting venture. Buffy had been possessed with a need to look festive, and despite Spike’s groans, he’d gone along with it. However, their situation being what it was, achieving the holiday look had been something of a challenge. It had taken the help of Willow and a very hurried Xander and Anya to get either of them looking presentable for the party.
Not that Xander had been in favor of the dance idea, but he had no argument to offer as Buffy and Spike were, in every sense of the word, stuck together. And perhaps it wasn’t as much the dance itself that drove her friend up the wall, but the fact that he was the only male of the bunch and had thus been elected to help Spike with his pants.
Help was perhaps overstating it a bit. He’d stood and watched—albeit not closely—as Spike dressed, issued an abrupt nod when the vamp finished and had left the room in a hurry.
It was a different story for Buffy. After discovering the only way to remove her top was to tear it off, Willow had searched frantically for a spell that would help Buffy dress without sacrificing her wardrobe.
“Warlocks do this all the time,” Willow had said. “Magicking clothes onto themselves and such. Really. This spell? Piece of cake.”
Buffy found herself squeezing Spike’s hand—best she could, at least—for reassurance, not realizing she had done so until she felt his fingers curl around hers to return the favor. They had been seated rather inelegantly on top of Giles’s kitchen table, backs pressed against each other’s so that nothing inappropriate was seen. As strange as it was, spending the day with Spike—unable to physically do anything but—had made Buffy feel protective of him. Closer to him. As though of everyone in the room, he was the one she could trust.
Which was dumb, granted, but how she felt nonetheless.
In the end, it had only taken three tries with Willow’s spell to get the outfit on properly. And Buffy had no complaints. Her Bronze-wear consisted of black velvet pants paired with a red Santa-themed top. The top itself had three-quarter-length sleeves; white rabbit fur lined the collar. It was stylish and fun and she loved it, regardless of the snappy comment Spike had made.
“Look like a sodding Santa groupie. Someone got a fetish, Summers?”
But his eyes had been twinkling, and seemingly unable to stop from landing in the vicinity of her breasts, which, Buffy had to admit, looked all kinds of awesome against this fabric.
Willow had located one of Giles’s old shirts for Spike, which he had complained about loudly until he’d gotten a glimpse of it. The fashion was so old it was on the brink of coming back in style. It was red, which he’d liked, and festive, which Buffy liked. And he had black slacks on to boot. Spike had insisted on wearing his black tee underneath, and Buffy had agreed if only so they didn’t look like they had deliberately coordinated their clothing.
But damn, he looked hot. Even Willow had given him a lingering look.
Now, they had been at the party now for almost two hours. And despite the weirdness of being there with Spike, Buffy was having an amazing time. So amazing that she nearly didn’t recognize Riley when he approached.
“Buffy, hey!” her would-be boyfriend said, beaming that mega-watt smile that should have her heart doing flip-flops. “Can I…” He shifted his gaze to Spike, and the smile faded into a scowl. He stared at him for a long moment before giving his head a shake and looking back to Buffy. “You want to dance?”
“Ummm…” Buffy smiled nervously. Honestly, he was the last person she’d expected to see tonight. And quite frankly, she had been better off for it. It wasn’t that she didn’t like Riley; she did. Kind of. But truth be told, ever since she’d clarified that she wasn’t engaged, she’d felt more and more pressured to pursue a relationship with him. That was something she really, in her heart of hearts, did not want. “Actually, the thing is…umm, Riley. I can’t…” She looked to Spike for help, but he was too busy glowering at Riley to notice.
But Riley noticed and his glare hardened. “Hey, is this guy bothering you?”
At that, Spike released a low, almost possessive growl. “No. She came with me,” he all but snarled. “So back off, brute boy.”
For a moment, Buffy thought Riley might blow, but then he paused and frowned. “Do I know you?”
This was not going anywhere good.
“Listen, Riley…I came with Spike tonight.” Buffy cursed herself when his eyes widened in recognition. Damn, damn, double damn. “Yeah…uhhh…remember that thing where we weren’t getting married and it was all a story?”
Spike frowned at her.
Riley heaved a long sigh, his shoulders dropping. “Lemme guess…” he said. “That was the real story because…what? You two had a fight or something?” He shook his head. “Is this what you do? Fight and break up and flirt with guys in between? Was that what Parker was?”
“Buffy…” Riley looked at her a long moment, then sighed and shook his head. He turned to Spike. “You should know she has been doing stuff behind your back. Pursuing me and then Parker—”
“You got this way wrong,” Buffy snapped, shaking. “There’s nothing behind anyone’s back.”
“So you this is a game the two of you play together then?”
There was a snarl behind her that almost surprised her more than the question had. “That’s enough, mate.” Spike had this feral look about him that both invigorated her and made her nervous. There was every possibility that he was seconds away from doing something stupid. “Think you better apologize to the lady.”
Buffy blinked. Since when was her vampire chivalrous?
And since when was he her vampire?
“No, love. The wanker’s gonna apologize.” Spike took a step forward, his eyes flashing. “Aren’t you?”
Spike might be shorter than Riley, but the air with which he carried himself screamed raw power and danger. And Buffy saw it—saw that recognition in Riley’s eyes too, for the look that stormed his face was one she’d never before associated with him.
Then he was normal again. Riley. The guy she now had absolutely no future with, but somehow couldn’t work herself up to be as upset about that as she felt she should.
“Sorry,” he said, then coughed. And before she knew it, her would-be boyfriend had dissolved into a sea of partygoers and likely out of her life forever.
Well, except for that one class where he was the TA. No, that wouldn’t be awkward at all.
Buffy knew she should feel something on some level—and she did. A small ounce of regret, of loss, the hum of “Another One Bites The Dust” thrumming through her veins.
Maybe she was just not meant for a normal relationship. After all, her life? Not normal.
Spike was still rigid when she jostled his hand and shook. “Are you okay?”
There was no response.
Buffy frowned. “Spike…”
“The guy’s a git. You can do better than him.”
She blinked and looked at him. “I can? Seems I remember some choice words you had on the subject.”
Spike snorted and shook his head. “You date tossers, love. Bleeding Angel then that wanker who…” His jaw hardened and for a moment, something played across his face that had her again questioning everything she knew or thought she knew about him.
Could Spike…be jealous? Of Parker?
“Figure Peaches gave you some line about the kinda fella you oughta date after he took off, yeah?” he said a moment later. “Nice normal bloke for a girl who’s anything but.”
Buffy swallowed. “Well, he left because…of the vampire thing. That he was one. And that we can’t...”
But she didn’t want to talk to Spike about her lack of a sex life with Angel. She didn’t want to talk about Angel at all because Spike was very much not Angel. He was the anti-Angel, from build to hair color to soul. He was everything she shouldn’t want—should hate, actually. And she had hated him with a passion up until Willow’s stupid spell. The not-hate she felt now would wear off at some time. It had to.
“What a bloody saint,” Spike said a moment later. “Can’t have you for himself so he tells you to go for the thing you aren’t.”
“Not built for normal blokes, love,” he murmured. “You’re not normal. Never can be.”
“Thanks,” she deadpanned.
Spike rolled his eyes and tugged her closer. “You’re remarkable, is what you are. Too good for the likes of any rotten pulser here. Too good for Angel too. Git never knew what he had.”
Irritation gone, Buffy found that her throat had gone dry. Really dry. She studied Spike’s face as she never had before, then swallowed. Before she could help herself, the words were in her mouth. On her tongue. Out in the open. “And you?”
Spike just stared at her for a long moment.
Then he kissed her.
Holy god, he kissed her. And the instant his lips touched hers, Buffy was gone. Melted away into some forbidden paradise where nothing in the world mattered except for this. Bliss in every sense of the word. A whimper of repressed longing scratched at her throat, and then she had hooked her good arm around his neck and was, leaping into the kiss with everything she had, warring with his tongue, exploring his mouth with her own. Spike growled and hauled her to him with his free arm, pressing her flush against his—oh yeah, there it was. The bulge she had seen that morning was pressed against her belly, lighting her every nerve and sending shocks of pure want to her clit. His taste consumed her: tobacco, whiskey, leather, even the hint of blood. All things she should reject. All things that were driving her wild.
Not much time had passed since they had last shared a kiss like this, but damn. Damn. This time it was real this time.
Or as real as it was going to get. When they broke away, panting and leaning into each other, the volume of the music settled around them once more and Buffy found herself overwhelmed with sudden shyness. She didn’t know what had brought that on—didn’t really care—but the knowledge that it had taken so little to free her inhibitions brought reality back with a screeching halt. She still had an arm wrapped around his neck, her brow rubbing his. The hard length of his cock was still pressed against her stomach and she managed to stifle a grin. Managed to stop herself from thrusting her hips against his to let him know just how into this she was. It was too fast. From where she had been the night before to this…it was too fast.
And yet oh god not fast enough.
Then the moment was over. Just like that. Over. As though sensing her hesitation, Spike reeled back and caught her gaze. “Mistletoe,” he said, pointing skyward. “I was just…mistletoe. And the blokes over there were just askin’ for an eyeful.”
Buffy blinked at him, wounded. No way had that been a mistletoe kiss. She had endured mistletoe kisses in the past. Never had one set her skin aflame. Never had one made her lose all sense of time and reasoning.
Spike drew her to him again before she could respond. For an instant, she thought he’d kiss her again, but he didn’t. Instead, he twirled her as the next song struck the speakers. The twirl not a simple feat given their joined hands, but he managed to make it look easy.
He managed to make everything look easy. Feel easy.
Like they could ever be easy.
But maybe you could, a voice from deep inside her said, mutinous and foolish but very present all the same. After all, he was right, wasn’t he? She couldn’t have normal. Couldn’t be normal. And maybe she didn’t even want it.
Maybe she wanted to want it, or thought she should. But in the end, what would she change? She’d thought last year that her powers were gone—Giles had given her a glimpse of what life would look like during her eighteenth birthday bash ritual, and she hadn’t liked it.
In fact, she’d hated it. Despite how much easier her life would be, there were certain things a person couldn’t unknow. And returning to her simple life just wasn’t an option. She didn’t want it to be one.
Despite the demands it made of her, despite the weight of the world on her shoulders, Buffy enjoyed who she was as the Slayer.
She and Spike were silent for long minutes, swaying to soft, instrumental music she didn’t recognize. It felt awkward and wrong yet perfect and so right at the same time. She didn’t know what to think and god, she didn’t want to. She just wanted to feel. Feel him. Feel Spike.
Spike chuckled then, the motion making his chest rumble in a way she should not have found sexy but did.
That was Spike in a nutshell. Shouldn’t think he was sexy but did. Shouldn’t want him but did. Shouldn’t make her feel this way but did.
“This song’s appropriate,” he murmured into her ear, setting fire to her nerves.
Buffy swallowed. “Oh?”
“None more so.” He dipped his head closer, the arm around her waist grew more demanding. And then something light touched her ear and oh holy god Spike was singing to her. Singing. To her.
“The best things happen while you’re dancing. Things that you would not do at home come naturally on the floor. For dancing…” He dipped her lightly. “Soon becomes romancing. When you hold a girl in your arms that you’ve never held before.”
Buffy inhaled deeply, then whimpered when she felt his lips brush the shell of her ear,
“Even guys with two left feet come out all right if the girl is sweet. If by chance their cheeks should meet—” He pressed his cheek to hers. “—while dancing, proving that the best things happen while you dance.”
“That’s…umm…” Buffy pulled back, a shaky breath rattling through her lips. “Not a Christmas song?”
Spike smiled, running his fingers up and down her spine. “Yes it is, love. Well, it’s from a Christmas flick, right? Aren’t those the rules?”
“It’s from a Christmas movie?”
“Irving to boot. Y’know…bloke who composed the most popular Christmas song of all bloody time?” His eyes twinkled. “White Christmas. Musical from the fifties.”
“You know the lyrics to a musical from the fifties?”
“Kitten, I had to go see it on openin’ night. Dru likes people to sing for her.”
A shrug to follow through with her instantaneous fall of spirit. Ah. Right. Drusilla. There was that shadow again.
“We oughta see if it’s on when we get back,” Spike went on. “I always fancied that one. Music and all.”
“Right. You’re into old music.” She made a face. “Well, the Sex Pistols—”
“Are a bloody brilliant band and we’re not goin’ there.” Spike dipped her again without warning. “Just because my taste is superior doesn’t mean it isn’t diverse. Though I expect you only listen to whatever boy band the record company’s promoting at a given time, right? That or Britney bloody Spears.”
Buffy’s nose wrinkled. “Huh? Uhh, no.”
“Y’know, you kinda look like that bird.”
“I do not!”
He nodded, a studious look on his face. “Short. On the skinny side. Blonde. Cute. Yeah, pet, you got her look down.”
The room did one of those freezy things where they were briefly the only occupants. “You think I’m cute?”
“You said cute.”
He scoffed. “Did not.”
Buffy pouted at his refusal to admit that he’d called her cute, but decided to let it drop. In the long run, all that really mattered was that he had said it. And it wasn’t as though it meant anything, anyway. And what was that, anyway? Cute? She was cute? Puppies were cute. Babies were cute.
He had to be the world’s most aggravating vampire.
“You said the song was appropriate,” she said a minute later. “What did you mean?”
Spike perked an eyebrow. “The best things happen while you’re dancin’?”
He smirked. “Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed it, sweets.”
The record had shifted to a subtler “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.
“Every move we make,” he said, emphasizing by thrusting his pelvis up in time with the beat—so in time that she didn’t know whether or not it was intentional. “Every day. Ever since we met. All we’ve done with each other…is dance.”
He dipped her a third time before she could protest and continued unhampered when she was eye level once more. “There’s different ways to dance, love. Slayers dance with their bodies—all out. No matter what you’re doin’. You think you’re fighting. You think that’s what calls blokes like me. You think it’s your blood—that plays a part, I won’t lie, but there’s something else. A different kind of thirst…just for you. The Slayer. Every move she makes, every little gasp of air…it’s all a part of the dance. Every slayer does it. Taunts us. Torments us. Bloody well begs us to take her.” He stopped, frowned, and thought. “But you, Summers…” In an abrupt move, he twirled her around so that his arms had crisscrossed over her front and her back was pressed to his chest. He made no effort to hide his erection, rather pressed himself against her backside and growled into her ear when she pressed back into him. “You dance with all you’ve got. You dance for the sake of dancing. It’s something else… Something about you that gives the dance a whole new meanin’. And that’s all we’ve ever done, love. All you and I have ever done, at least. Danced around each other until the song changes tunes. Fighting, screaming…and now…”
Buffy’s eyes were threatening to fall shut as she went lax in his embrace. Every word that escaped his lips made her skin tingle. And damn, she wanted nothing more than to lose herself.
“And now, Slayer,” he continued softly, “we’re putting the fight to music. The dance never ends. Not with you.”
She felt his free hand draw hair away from her face, turned to meet his eyes, and found him staring at her with a look she had never seen before. And for long a moment, they were without time.
“It’s your eyes,” he said suddenly.
It was amazing she could find her voice. “What?”
“Your eyes…it’s how you dance. A man could dance forever in your eyes.”
Buffy’s head spun. Realities had suddenly bent to her whim.
Mistletoe kiss. Yeah. Right.
Somewhere, somehow, she was able to locate her voice.
“And,” she began. “The best things happen while you’re dancing?”
Spike grinned. “Only while you’re dancing.”
Four simple words. It was funny how four simple words could be the foundation of everything. Could open the gateway to everything. Of course, as was in this case, it was hardly ever just the words—more the thought and feeling that went into them. The knowledge of what they meant. What he meant when he said them. Because this was it.
How in the world had they gotten here from yesterday?
Buffy pulled back and put as much space between her and Spike as she could. Something dark crossed his face, but he didn’t look surprised. Rather disappointed. And turned on.
What did this mean?
The Bronze was suddenly too hot, and she needed to get out. “I’m gonna go kill things,” she decided abruptly and turned sharp on the heel.
Not much for a dramatic exit, seeing as she couldn’t go more than a couple steps without dragging Spike behind her.
“Well,” he mumbled, “guess I’m comin’ along.”
The air stung with the weight of unspoken words. Dangerous words and looks and feelings she shouldn’t feel but couldn’t help.
But she didn’t want to think about that stuff. Not now.
Because if she thought too much, she might do something she regretted.
Or she might regret not doing something.