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A Gem of A Soul

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"Be quiet as a little mouse and I'll order us some room service," Spike told her when he arose just before noon.

The fact that he had cuffed her hands together and stuffed a gag in her mouth while he said it made it pretty much impossible to do otherwise.

He took a quick shower and toweled off, slinging the towel around his waist, and busied himself packing up his duffle. As soon as breakfast arrived, he wanted to leave.

A knock sounded at the door, and he answered it, his hair still curled and damp, chest bare, feet unshod, nothing but a towel covering him. The dark, voluptuous girl with the room service cart gave a small, involuntary gasp at the sight of him, and he smiled.

Breakfast was going to be tasty.

"Come in, luv," he crooned, then reached his arm around her, 'helping' to push the cart into the suite, his bare arm brushing against her back. He guided her over to where the Slayer was sure to be able to see them through the cracked door. He had a lesson he wanted to teach her.

Strategic positioning accomplished, he set to flirting shamelessly with the raven-haired bird, by turns shy and seductive. It was a technique he'd perfected long ago, and he soon had the chit pressed up against him, arms wrapped around his neck, head thrown back in passion. Spike kissed and nuzzled and fondled her until she was shuddering, then slipped his hand into her pants, bringing her closer to climax. He vamped, yellowed eyes seeking out the Slayer's, pleased to see the intense glare she was focusing on him from where she lay bound and helpless.

Then he gently bit the girl, just as she trembled in his arms and cried out in ecstasy. She was so far gone with pleasure, she barely even registered it. Instead, she moaned in bliss and came again, then collapsed against him, spent.

Spike only drank enough to sate his hunger, not nearly enough to harm her, and subsequently carried her limp form over to the couch and laid her gently upon it, covering her with a throw.

Feeling pleased with himself, he un-gagged the Slayer. She immediately began to shriek at him. "I can't believe it! After all that bullshit yesterday about how you could choose to not be a killer, you kill that girl right in fro –mmph!" Spike had clapped a hand over her mouth, silencing her.

"She's not dead, and you'll wake her up. I gave the bird a good time, and she's going to remember me fondly for the rest of her life". He unclasped her mouth. "You saw, Buffy. She wasn't frightened or in pain. She enjoyed it. Now how is that evil?"

"Because… because you still bit her! She didn't ask for that!"

The vampire shrugged. "She didn't seem to mind. And she's going to recover just fine". Buffy glared at him more, but didn't appear to have a retort. He finished dressing and shrugged on his coat. "It's time to go. I'd like to walk out of here without making a scene. Can we do that?"

The Slayer didn't answer.

"You throw up a fuss, all that's going to happen is you're going to get people hurt. Nobody here can stop me, and I won't have any compunction about stopping them. Understand?"

"What about the food?" Buffy sulked.

"Hungry little thing," Spike laughed. "I asked for it to be boxed to go. I won't let you starve".

"Thanks. You're too kind," she muttered sarcastically.

Buffy watched the Nevada scenery speed by. It had been pretty at first, but now it was monotonous. Spike had left her upright in the back seat this time, rigging a system of restraints that allowed her to use her hands to feed herself, but not much more. After several hours like this, she was bored, bored, bored, with nothing but her brain to occupy her.

Her thoughts were no less confused than they had been the day before. Spike was still on his 'I don't have to be evil' campaign, and it was hard to wrap her mind around. He'd been telling the truth that he hadn't killed the girl.

She'd insisted on checking the quiescent form before they left, and like the vampire had said, the girl was simply in a peaceful sleep. Her heartbeat was strong, and the punctures on her neck barely showed. She had a blissed-out, dreamy expression.

Thinking back on it, Buffy squirmed uneasily. Spike had made the whole thing seem so… sexy. And that was just wrong. Right? Surely the act of biting was still evil. At least, evil-light. Who would consent to that if they knew it was going to happen? It's not like he'd asked his victim's permission.

But the fact remained that Spike had not only left her alive, he hadn't even hurt her in any way, if you didn't count the small holes in her neck. She didn't know what to make of it. Could a vampire go his whole life like that? Was a semi-willing victim any worse than stealing bagged human blood, like Angel had? She knew he drank pig's blood now, but he hadn't always. It was a lot to consider.

Her mind drifted to the contrast between Spike and Angel. It was painful to think about. Spike was definitely crude, and disgusting, and downright evil, but he'd shown her he could control his behavior, at least for short amounts of time when he wanted to, when he seemed to want to be in her good graces. Without a soul or a conscience or even any encouragement from her.

Whereas Angel, the minute he had lost his soul, had become pure evil, despite having professed feelings for her hours before. If Spike could care about what she thought and choose to be un-evil without a soul, why couldn't Angel as Angelus? What did it mean that he didn't? Was his love real?

Even more worrisome was the way Angel had reacted when they'd both been tied up. Spike could have been lying about his grand-sire being excited, but Buffy suspected not. Angel had seemed ashamed enough. Was Spike telling the truth that Angel and Angelus were no different? It couldn't be. An ensouled Angel behaved totally differently. She still firmly believed that having a soul mattered.

She suspected the real question was why Spike was so different from other vampires despite not having a soul.

Her head hurt from it all. There were no answers to be had. None that made sense to her.

She wriggled around more. The lack of distraction from her disturbing thoughts made her surly.

She watched the back of Spike's head for awhile, unable to see his visage in the mirror. His hair was still tousled and curly, not slicked-back like usual. It made her think of the way he'd looked earlier, fresh from the shower. And that made her think of what had happened with the room service girl all over again. It was a conundrum, and she couldn't figure out how she felt about it.

Buffy had a panicked moment when she realized that one of the feelings she'd had as Spike had seduced the girl was jealousy. Okay, she didn't want his attention, and she would surely reject him every time he tried, but… Watching him touch another woman, knowing what that mouth and those fingers could do, knowing how he was making the gasping girl feel… she'd definitely been a tiny bit jealous.

Oookay, it was time to stop the crazy-making carousel ride inside her brain. Time for a distraction.

"Hey!" she shouted to the front of the car. "I'm bored. I need to pee".

"Well, which is it?"

"Both". She gave the scenery a black look. "Are we there yet?"

"Are we where?" he retorted, exasperated. "We're in the middle of bleeding nowhere! Has anyone ever told you you have the attention span of a gnat, Slayer?"

"This is your stupid road trip. I didn't ask to go along. You see how you like spending all your time tied up with nothing to do". She felt like a little kid, trying to get Daddy's attention because, even angry, it was better than being ignored.

One brief stop at a deserted off-ramp later, Buffy had wrangled her way into the front seat.

"Come on," she'd whined, "You can tie me up like you did in the back, so I can't escape. Just… let me sit up with you. We can talk, or something. I'm bored back there".

Spike had given her a suspicious stare, but he'd complied. And now they sat together in the front in silence, giving each other edgewise looks.

"What?" he huffed when she'd peeked at him for the dozenth time.

"Aren't you going to say anything? You always have something to say".

"No. This was your idea. I was fine. If you wanna talk, you talk".

"Fine," she grumped, and turned away from him. It wasn't much better up front after all. Before much time had passed, she began squirming around again, bored once more.

"Don't you know how to sit still?" Spike growled. "I'm gonna knock you out if you don't stop it".

"I'm bored, alright?"

"Heaven save us, can't you amuse yourself? I thought it was an American pastime, going on long car rides, all the little kiddies in tow".

"I've never been in a car this long".

Spike looked at her, surprised. "Really? Mummy and Daddy never packed you up on some long car trip?"

Shaking her head bemusedly, she replied, "No, Dad was always too busy to go on vacation. I've never really been anywhere except my aunt's and she's only a few hours away".

"You've missed out then, Slayer. Lots of interesting stuff to see out there".

"Yeah, well, right now I'm not seeing it. I'm just seeing trees and desert. Mile after mile of the same thing". After a moment, she added, "I did go to Vegas once. It might have been fun, except it wasn't a vacation".


"It was a Slayer thing. Vampires to deal with. Before I moved to Sunnydale. There was this guy that took me, I kind of ran away with him". Spike pinned her with a look. "Not like that. He was only helping me. He wanted to be, like, my slaying partner, but things got hairy and…"

"And what?"

"And he left. Left me there," Buffy finished quietly.

"The tosser left a little girl alone in Vegas?" He was indignant on her behalf.

"I wasn't that little! Well, okay, I was pretty young, but I did alright. I'm not like other girls".

"No, you definitely aren't. Who was this wanker?"

"Pike," Buffy replied. "Hey, that's funny! Pike – Spike! He's like you!"

"I'm sure he's nothing like me," he muttered.

Eyeing him critically, she said, "I dunno. He thought he was a bad boy rebel too".

"Difference is, I don't think I'm a bad boy. I am". Buffy had nothing to say to that.

After a while, Spike asked, "You've never been anywhere else?"

"I've been to Disney of course. San Diego. Oh, when I was eight, we went to D.C., and I got lost at the Smithsonian. I just remembered. That's the only big family vacation we've ever gone on. Dad would always say next year, but it never happened. The year before he left, he'd talked about taking us to Spain. I guess he took his secretary instead." Her face fell.

"You didn't miss much," he consoled her.


"Well, no. Spain's got some neat things. Like the running of the bulls". He examined the ring on his finger. "I could go stand in the streets and watch now, if I wanted, instead from inside". He turned to her, animated. "See, some idiot always gets himself gored, right, and there's blood streaming everywhere, and in the past I'd have to stay inside, smelling it…" he trailed off at the look on her face.

"Uh, yeah. Spain's neat," he said instead.

Buffy just shook her head. She figured there wasn't much point in getting upset; it wasn't like she could change it, and at least this way she had something to do. Something to distract her from her own stupid thoughts.

"Where else have you been?" she asked.

The subject of Spike's travels took them through the rest of Nevada and into the mountains of Utah. Buffy was extremely jealous of how many places he'd been. True, he'd had to cut most of his tales short, since they all seemed to end in bloodshed and carnage, but it was still interesting.

"That's cool. I've always wanted to travel, see the places you've been".

"Maybe I could take you," he offered unthinkingly.

Buffy raised her eyebrows at him in disbelief. "Would this be before or after you kill me?"

"Oh, right". They were both silent.

When they came upon Salt Lake City, it was night, and after the absence of civilization, the city glowed before them. "Oooh, pretty. Isn't this where that Mormon temple thing-y is?" Buffy pressed her face up against the window. "I wonder what it looks like. My grandma had a CD from the Tabernacle Choir. She told me she'd been there and it was interesting".

Without a word, Spike took the appropriate exit, and they cruised past Temple Square, lit up in the night.

"Never seen this before," he said as they circled the block, ogling the sight.

"Too bad it's too late to take a tour," Buffy remarked, eyeing the closed gates.

"We could go in if you wanted". She turned to him. He was completely serious.

"Thanks," she laughed, amused by how earnest he was, "but somehow breaking into church grounds for a little tourism doesn't seem right".

"Pffft. Who cares," Spike scoffed.

"I care," Buffy said gravely.

"Right. Do-gooder. Won't forget again". Spike sped up the street and returned to the highway.

Buffy watched him as he drove. He seemed upset, and she wondered if he was insulted that she hadn't wanted to do a little breaking-and-entering with him. Sometimes, he was impossible to understand. After more consideration, she realized that he'd probably only driven by the Temple because she had expressed interest. It was bizarrely thoughtful of him. So she took a breath and said, "Thanks. For taking the detour".

"S'nothing," Spike dismissed her, and drove onwards in silence through the winding mountain roads.

Buffy dozed for a bit, then woke when they made a gas and restroom stop in some podunk town just across the Wyoming border. After she was re-settled in her rope restraints, he handed her a bag filled with convenience store food and she pawed through it, looking for something remotely healthy. She found a bottle of juice and opened it.

Taking a long swig, she asked without looking at him, "So, tell me, are we still operating on the same plan? The 'me: Slayer, you: vampire, mortal enemies to the end' one? Because, call me crazy if you want, I'm not feeling it anymore".

"You're the one who keeps reminding me of it, Slayer".

"True. But I'm starting to think you might be on to something. You're not half bad when you're not all evil. I don't feel like killing you quite as much. I was hoping you'd feel the same way".

"What are you getting at?" Spike sat slouched behind the wheel, staring straight ahead, refusing to give her any indication of his mood.

Buffy put her idea to talk Spike into letting her go into action. "Welllll… I was kinda hoping you were reconsidering the 'feed me to Drusilla' plan. Maybe even thinking about letting me go, since you don't seem to be quite so angry as before. You know, you go your less-evil way, I go home, we all live happily ever after…"

His face hardened. "No".

Buffy sighed. So much for easy. "We're still on for Buffy's death at the hands of the loony ho-bag vampire, then?"

Spike angrily lit a cigarette. "Shut up," he said through a cloud of smoke, turning his music on, the blaring noise making it clear conversation was over.

She leaned against the smooth, cool window and stared bleakly out into the night. "I suppose that means we're still mortal enemies, huh?"

Spike heard her comment, even though he didn't outwardly react to it. Inside, though, he was a roiling mass of emotions.

As daft as it sounded, the problem was that after all this time, all this effort, he didn't want to kill the Slayer.

Sure, on paper he did. Bag his third Slayer. Return to his glorious, wicked princess a conquering hero. Resume his rightful place at her side, wreaking death and destruction in the world. Yeah, sounded grand.

But then. He'd think about a world without this particular Slayer in it. A world without Buffy. And the whole of his immortal existence seemed gray and meaningless. It brought him no pleasure to imagine her smile forever quenched, her annoyingly perky little voice forever silenced.

No, instead, it made him want to howl in agony.

Drusilla, the barmy bint, had been right. The Slayer was floating all around him. Mocking him. Making him into something he wasn't. Making him feel things he shouldn't, like guilt and shame. He didn't like it. It left him confused and angry and in a right buggering mess.

In over a hundred years, there had always been one sure solution to solving any problems he'd found himself in. Kill whatever was causing it. Was it any wonder his mind still persisted on telling him to stick with the plan and kill the Slayer? Surely, once she was dead, he'd forget all this foolishness, and all the confusion and painful feelings would be gone.

So, yeah, he'd told her he still planned on killing her. Even if he felt like begging her forgiveness in the next breath.