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Vivid Ways to Ripen

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“Don't you have any real friends?”

“All my friends are boring compared to you.”

Dawn dumped her bag out on his bed, covering it with books and chewed pens and scraps of paper. He folded his hand behind his head, leaning against the headboard, sheets twisted awkwardly around him. Dawn had woken him up.

She was warm when she leant against his side. He could smell the human scents on her: sweat, saliva, and a rich, coppery tang that meant she was menstruating. He could also smell the places she'd been that day too, the fat in the school cafeteria, chalky classrooms, the pollution from the bus. He wanted to pull her closer, bury his face in her neck, work out exactly what she'd done since he'd last seen her from each layer of her scent.

Not now, though. Not yet. He said, “Do you need help?”

“Not from you,” she said, opening a science textbook. “I'm a high school senior now: I think I've gone a little beyond your intellectual capacities.”

He peered over her shoulder at her notes. “Oi, I'm sure I could understand memory T-cells if I wanted to.”

“They're in blood. You eat them all the time.”

“Well then, it's my speciality.”

She laughed. “Maybe you can help me with French later.”

“Don't think I want to now you've insulted me.”

“But you won't be able to resist showing off,” Dawn said, quickly scratching out an answer to one of the textbook's questions. Spike pressed closer to her. He could feel the weight of her thigh through the blanket. He was mostly naked under it, though he'd known she was coming: she woke him every afternoon when she got in from school, and stayed until it was time for her to go back to Willow and Tara so they could all play at happy families.

He knew it was play. She wouldn't spend so long curled up next to him in his poorly made bed in his little apartment if they were really happy.

She sighed and stretched next to him, and rolled onto her stomach. Her ran his fingers over her back, feeling the angles of her ribs through her thin top, the soft flesh on either side of her spine. “You got cramps, pet?”

“How'd you know?”

“I can smell it.”

She buried her face in his pillow. “Oh, god, Spike. Do I stink?”

He realised his mistake. “No, love, I didn't mean it like that. I'm the only one who could tell. Vampire, remember?”

She peeked up at him through her hair. “Oh.” A pause. “Do you like it? I mean, blood must smell like a delicious meal, right?”

“Mm. It doesn't smell like normal blood, not like the blood in your veins. I can smell the hormones, and there are fluids that aren't in normal blood...”

“And mucus, and clots, and other gross things like that.”

“No, it's not gross. It's like a delicacy. An unexpected treat. Some vampires go out looking specially for pretty girls like you who smell so delicious.”

“Jeez. Maybe you'd better walk me home tonight then, don't want some vampire with weird tastes following me.”

Spike smiled. He massaged the small of her back lightly with one hand. “You're in bed with a weird vampire right now, pet.”

She squirmed slightly, a flush coming up over her neck and to her cheeks. He was sometimes surprised that she still got embarrassed. “It's different when it's you.”

“Good. Wouldn't like to think you'll curl up with any old vampire to do your biology homework.”

“I'm nearly finished,” she said, her voice a little uncertain.

“Are you now? You need to study? Got a test coming up?”

She looked up at him curiously, not realising that he was teasing her. She pushed her hair back from her face in a characteristic gesture. “Nothing I'm not ready for. Besides, Willow makes me go over everything while Tara makes dinner.”

“Quite the routine you have.”

“Yup. Tara makes the same meals every week. She had a special planner so she always knows what to buy.”

“Sounds boring.”

“She's trying really hard,” Dawn said. “Besides,you always eat the same thing.”

“Not quite.” Spike took the book out of her hands and leant over her so he could put it on the floor. No point in getting her hard work all crumpled. Then he grasped her shoulders and encouraged her to roll over so she was lying on her back again. She was on top of the blanket; he was underneath it. He wriggled out from under it. He was wearing a black t-shirt and nothing else. Not exactly sexy. He wasn't hard yet, but he was getting there.

Dawn watched him, and though he'd got pretty good at reading people, he couldn't read her expression. He kept expecting her to be disgusted by him, to run away and never come back. Part of him wanted her to, almost as much as another part dreaded it.

“Your tummy hurt?” he asked.

“Uh-huh. It's the first day. It... it always hurts then.”

“This might help.”

He undid her jeans and she lifted her hips so he could tug them down. She looked up at him, passive, eyes big in her face. She always looked a bit too thin. He kept his hands light on her skin, waiting for her to push him off. She didn't move, she just met his gaze, open, unafraid.

He'd been hurt once by that look, the look of passive trust, that look that told him he wasn't the person he'd once been. He wasn't offended now: he was drawn to it. He wanted her to look at him that way, and he felt like every day they got closer to the moment when she would see him, really see him, for what he was, and she'd turn her face from him. He waited for it, knowing it was inevitable, but he kept going, seeing how long she would trust him, seeing how much of her he could take before he took too much.

“Should you put a towel down?”

He shook his head. “I'm not wasting a drop of you. Besides, there's a lot worse on these sheets.”

Dawn wrinkled her nose. “Semen and spit and bits of old pizza?”

“And bits of old demons.”

She was wearing plain blue panties, cotton, soft from wear. He tugged them down too. She had a panty-liner in them to catch any stray drops of blood, and there was a small red stain in the centre. He breathed in deep: blood, and the muskiness of hormones, and the rich scent that came from her inner organs. Her pubic hair curled dark against her pale limbs, and he ran his fingers through it, relishing its softness. She'd asked him once if she should shave, and he'd begged her not to. He loved this hair, this dark, adult hair, masking the folds of her pussy.

She had a tampon in too, of course. He found the string and eased it out. She bucked her hips up as he did so, hissing in a breath. “Did I hurt you? Sorry, love.”

She shook her head. Otherwise, she remained still, hands resting lightly on her tummy. She was still wearing her pale pink top.

He wanted to bury his face in her vulva.

She drew her knees up, spreading her legs, giving him access. He put the tampon to one side, on the bed, really not caring if it stained something. He bent over her, breathing her in. The blood was coming now, oozing slowly from her vagina. He dipped his head, lapping it up, tasting her. He hadn't had menstrual blood in a long time. He hadn't had human blood in a long time either, in too long. He was overwhelmed by the taste of both: Dawn's rich blood, and the way it was mingled with her other bodily fluids, the juices of her pussy, the cells from her womb, the rush of female hormones.

It was heady. His fangs wanted to come down, his demon wanted to bury its face in her thigh, rip open a vein. He wanted to drink. He was so hungry for this. He wanted Dawn beneath him, trembling, blood so close to the surface, waiting to be drawn out. He wanted to make her his.

He controlled himself. He licked again, tongue running over the soft flesh of her vulva, dipping into the vagina. She made a soft sound in the back of her throat. She was flushed: thighs pink and hot, and a warmth spreading over her belly too. She was trembling very slightly, but so slightly he didn't think she knew. Just like this, Dawn was his, too, and he could drink from her. He could take from her, and have her come back to him again, of her own free will, near and warm and whole.

He decided he didn't give her head often enough. Even without the blood to tempt him, she tasted ripe and lovely, and she was gorgeous like this, spread out in front of him. He took her ankles in his hands, feeling their narrow bones, and, holding them, stayed crouched in front of her, burrowing his face into her pussy. He could hear her whimpering slightly, but it was a good sound, and he kept going, eyes closed, his world now made up of the taste and smell of Dawn.

He sucked at the blood, drawing it further down, sliding his tongue as far inside her as it would go. He drew out thick, rich blood clots and swallowed them down, and lapped up the thinner fluids too. Lapping along the length of her pussy, he found her clit, and sucked softly on the clitoral hood. She liked that. She bucked against him. He raised his head slightly, opening his eyes, breathing unnecessary air over her. Her eyes were shut, her lip caught between her teeth, one of her hands fisted in the bed sheets. Her pink top had ridden up and was caught beneath the line of her breasts.

“You're beautiful,” he said with a mouth soaked in the taste of her blood. He kept telling her that because she didn't seem to believe him.

“Fuck me,” she replied, and his cock, which had been throbbing softly, trapped between his stomach and the bed, twitched, his arousal more insistent.

“Where did you learn to talk like that?” He was teasing her: he loved that she demanded that of him, that she knew her own mind enough to ask for it.

“From you,” she said. She opened her eyes. Her lips were parted slightly, the bottom one swollen from being worried between her teeth. “You've got... on your mouth...” She gestured vaguely around her own mouth.

He reached his hand up to wipe his face, but she caught it and pulled him up, towards her. He followed where she led. She didn't kiss him but licked around his mouth, wet tongue on his skin, lapping up her own blood.

“I don't taste so bad.”

He kissed her properly. “You taste fucking amazing. Don't ever doubt it.”

Spike's thigh was between her legs. She pressed down on it, rubbing herself against him. She was slick with blood and juices. “Take your t-shirt off,” she said.

He pulled it over his head and chucked it to the other side of the room. “You too,” he said.

She pulled hers off, and then wrapped her arms around him, pressing her breasts into his chest, shifting so she could wrap her legs around his narrow waist. She felt impossibly warm against, and he could hear her pulse, feel the throb of her jugular in her neck. He pulled her with him, leaning back on his heels so she was astride his legs, her face against his.

His cock was pressed flush to her belly. She took it in her hand, fisting it. At first she'd seemed nervous of touching it, like she might hurt it, but now she was confident with it. There had been a glorious few weeks when she'd found his cock fascinating, had wanted to finger it and taste it and explore the veins, but now she had learnt its ways and she treated it with familiarity and ease. She ran her thumb over the wet tip, her thumb searingly warm.

“You've never fucked me when I'm...” She ducked her head, embarrassed still. “When I'm on my period.”

“And that's a terrible oversight on my part,” Spike said.

She was very wet. He knew there was blood on his thighs too, and there'd be blood on his cock before this was over. He breathed in deep. He could taste blood in his mouth, still, and he could taste her arousal on the air too. Her hand was on his prick, guiding it into her, her hot little fingers firm against him.

He slid into her so easily. He never got used to her heat, or her slick folds around him. She buried her face in his neck, exposing the line of her throat to him. He desperately wanted to sink his fangs into it, or at least suck the skin, draw the blood to the surface, feel the pulse of her blood under his tongue. He couldn't, of course: he couldn't send her home with marks on her neck.

“How's the tummy?”

“I've forgotten all about it.”

Her muscles clenched around him and he rocked against her. They'd learnt she liked clitoral stimulation, but she only really came from vaginal penetration. He liked knowing that about her, learning how her body responded to him. She squeezed around him, thrusting over him, setting a fast rhythm. Her face was buried against him, and he could feel her quick, wet breath on his shoulder.

His thighs ached from kneeling on the bed like this, but she felt so good above him that nothing would have induced him to change position. He gently disengaged her from his shoulder so he could run his hands over her breasts, stroking the full nipples with his thumb. Her breasts weren't move than a handful, but they were a soft, warm handful, and he loved that they were small and she didn't have to wear a bra. He dipped his head so he could suck one nipples into his mouth, and she gave a rough cry. He sucked hard enough to leave tooth marks and she cupped her hand around the base of his skull, pressing him closer.

She came before he did, already stimulated by his tongue, and always sensitive to his mouth on her breasts, to his cock inside her. She trembled against him and he thrust into her, groaning that he loved how she felt, that she was beautiful. Her eyes were shut, and her mouth open, and she was so delicate and so warm and so human.

He knew, if he'd had time, he could have made her come again and again, until she was shaking and raw, and he would have loved that, but they were already, as they so often were, running out of time.

After he slid out of her, sated, he tried to transfer the blood on his cock to his fingers so he could lick it off. Dawn watched him, looking fond and sleepy, though how she could be fond of an old vampire so desperate for human blood he'd try to lick it off his own cock Spike didn't know.

“Do you think you could bite me?” Dawn said.


“I mean, do you think it would make your head hurt? I'm not exactly human.”

“You're not exactly anything else either.”

She rolled on to her back, naked on his bed. Her biology book was open on the floor, her French textbook untouched on the night stand. She was sweaty, and her pubic hair was damp. He wondered if he had enough hot water to offer her a shower. He'd definitely have to walk her home—she smelt like sex, and she smelt delicious, and Sunnydale was still crawling with lots of things that would like to eat her.

“I think you should try it,” she said.

“Don't be daft.”

“Don't you want to see what I taste like?”

“Course I do, pet. It hurts, though. You wouldn't like it.”

“Who says I wouldn't like it?”

He was a little sleepy. He'd just had sex, and it was only just beginning to get dark. It really was early for a vampire.

She went on, “I might like it. I like it when you pinch my breasts and when you suck and nibble at my thigh and I like it when you run your fingernails down my back.”

“It hurts more than any of these things. Besides, you don't want to tempt fate, do you? I might not be able to stop.”

She nibbled her lip. “I'll bring a cross or holy water. We'll do it some time next week.”

“Uh, no we won't.”

She pressed herself against him, the warm curve of her buttock lining up with his hip. He ran his hand over her flank, feeling her hairs rise at his cold touch. “Yes, we will.”

“Don't you have to be getting home? Where do your witches think you are?”

“Hmm.” She snuggled in, draping an impossibly warm arm over his torso. “Table tennis, I think. I told them I was on the team.”

He laughed, relaxed, tracing a pattern on her back. “What kind of school has a table tennis team?”

“Mine does, apparently. We're not very good though, don't get to play many matches.”


“I know, I really want to show off my table tennis skills.”

He walked her home. Sunnydale was more run-down than it had been when Buffy was alive, shopping malls deserted and many houses derelict. The apartment Dawn shared with Willow and Tara was in a better part of the town. Thought it wasn't anywhere near the festive season, many of the trees in driveways were covered with strings of little lights, as if keeping the dark at bay would also keep the residents safe.

Dawn walked next to him, bag slung over her back. She was quiet. He wondered if she had friends, went to dances with boys when he wasn't looking—if she did she certainly didn't tell him. And, with the time she spent in his company, she didn't leave herself a lot over for anything else. That made him slightly guilty, but only slightly.

When he left her at her door, she looked up at him with that same trusting look she'd given him when he had his head between her thighs. Though he didn't usually touch her outside of the safety of his house, he put his hand to her cheek. She pressed into the touch. “Don't look at me like that,” he said. “I'll forget you aren't mine.”

She laughed. “I'm not anyone's. Don't know if I can say the same thing about you though.”

The sound of her laugh remained in his head long after she'd shut the door. Damn the girl for always being right.