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Chp 12 ; Fighting Desire

 

“A demon’s fire changes all,
The Old Returns,
Love Alone can break the Thrall,
Passion Burns,
Past and present merged must be
By Love, desire and need times three”

 

Buffy stared at her friend, not quite believing what she was hearing. “You mean, William and I have got to – ”

“Yes! The demon fire you and William saw and tasted in the graveyard inspires lust between you in some way and the Thrall is activated. It forces sex, lust, passion, call it what you like, between the Slayer and her vampire and that makes The Master appear again. Gives him life and form. Then the Demon Fire charm that was written to combat the Master comes into play and between you, you kill him.”

Buffy fought down a sense of helplessness and the very real desire to be physically sick. What sort of twisted, perverted mind had come up with that answer to a vampire problem? She bet it was a man. A nasty, brown-robed, monkish MAN. For a few wild seconds she envied Willow and wished she were gay, too.

William groaned and buried his head deeper in his hands. “Buffy, I want you – I can’t fight this desire much longer. I have to have you – we must –here – now – ”

Willow backed away up the basement steps, her eyes round with horror and embarrassment. “Look, I’m going upstairs to the shop. You two, well, you two do what you have to do. I’ll make sure no one comes down here. ”

“Will!”

“Buffy, what else can we do? The Thrall’s already started. The demon fire has infected you; the Master is on his way. Perhaps it would be better just to get it over and done with.” And she turned and vanished into the shop above.

“Buffy!” William stood up and stumbled towards her, his eyes glazed with lust, his hands reaching for her.

Buffy backed away. He looked like Spike, sounded like Spike, but he wasn’t the man she loved. OK, she’d had sex with him, lots of times since his appearance, but that had been playing, fun, stepping away from the realities of Slayerdom and life as a resentful mom to Dawn. Oh God, Dawn! How could she ever explain to her what they were doing?

“William! No! Fight it,” she muttered, then realised that her body was betraying her, too. She was inching towards him, aching for him. Her legs were trembling with desire and she felt wet and excited. If he would only touch her, rip her clothes away, enter her, …. Pictures and sensations flooded her brain, all the times they’d made love, what they’d done to each other, the mind-shattering bliss of climaxing with him deep inside her - oh god, she was going mad!

If he had been Spike, she doubted if she could have resisted – but this wasn’t Spike! This was William and she didn’t love him! And she was the Slayer and she refused to be manipulated any more by charms and thralls and demons! Enough of her life was controlled by forces she couldn’t influence, but she was damned if her sex life was going to be one of them, no matter what some mouldy old monk had decided centuries ago.

She pushed William aside with all the force she could muster. Off balance, he crashed to the floor, hitting his head a stunning blow on the side of a large box and lay, groaning. She hesitated for a moment, then turned away. The body was the same but this wasn’t Spike and Spike was whom she needed. No one else would do. Need? Yes, she needed Spike. The word rang in her head. And suddenly she knew what to do.

Buffy fled up the steps into the Magic Box. There was no sign of Willow but Anya had a whole line of people waiting to be served and only glanced at Buffy as the Slayer ran up the wooden ladder to the top gallery of the shop. On the floor, the book where Willow had read about the Thrall still lay open. She cast a glance at the illustrations and shuddered. Yes, there was no mistaking exactly what a Slayer and vampire needed to do to make the Master rise again!

Buffy stared around at the shelves sagging with hundreds of different volumes. As she’d pushed William away from her, the glimmering of an idea had flashed into her mind. She needed Spike – needed him desperately. She hadn’t a single clue what to do next, but there must be a book up here that would help her.

She knelt down and began pulling out the heavy leather-covered volumes, sneezing at the dust – did Anya never clean up here - flicking through them, searching for a name, a word, the one thing she needed. She knew she didn’t have much time. William would wake soon and come looking for her. She’d resisted him once. Could she do that again? Even a single thought about his mouth, his body, the way he made her feel was enough to send her screaming over the edge into a sex lust filled hell.

Wait! There was the name! She knew she’d find it. Toth. The demon that’d split Xander into two people a year ago.

“Buffy! What on earth are you doing? Those books aren’t for sale! But I suppose if you want to purchase one, I could work out a good price for you.”

Anya stood gazing down at her, frowning. Buffy waved at the book. “Look, Anya, Toth!”

“Toth? That was the tall skanky thing that gave me two Xanders until Willow merged them again. And I still don‘t understand why she did that. I could have managed both of them perfectly well. We could have worked out a rota.”

Buffy was staring at the page. “What? Yes, I suppose you could, But it might have made having a shower a problem. Listen, Anya. That rod thingy the Toth used – ”

“The Ferula-Gemina. A doubling rod.”

“Yes, have we got one in the shop?”

Anya frowned, suddenly serious. “Buffy, it’s an incredibly dangerous thing to have lying around. Anything could happen if someone picked it up and didn’t know what it could do. You could double the population of Sunnydale overnight!”

Buffy sighed. “OK, Anya, so are you saying we do have one?”

The ex-demon hesitated. “Well, Giles had a safe installed in the basement just after he bought the shop. If we’ve got one, it’ll be locked in there.”

Buffy leapt to her feet. “Come on! Show me.”

“Buffy – I’ve got customers waiting. Customers waiting to give me money!”

“Close the shop, Anya. This is important.”

Anya opened her mouth to argue, but there was something about the set of Buffy’s chin and the chilling sea green of her eyes that stopped her. Without another word she went back downstairs and ushered the remaining customers out of the shop. She picked up a long silver key from beneath the drawer in the cash register and silently followed Buffy back down into the basement. She gasped as she saw William picking himself up off the floor, clutching his head and groaning as blood dripped through his fingers.

“What happened?”

“Don’t worry about him. Find the rod, Anya. I didn’t know Giles had a safe down here.”

Anya began moving boxes aside. “Of course there’s a safe. I am an extremely responsible shop owner. I’ve all sorts of very, very dangerous objects and potions that can’t be left lying around for the uninitiated to find. What if Dawnie discovered a potion to make her all green glowy energy again. What if Xander found a spell that made him irresistible to men!” She heaved the final box aside and pointing to where a safe stood against the wall, she handed Buffy the key. “If the Ferula-Gemina is anywhere, it’ll be in there.”

“Buffy – what are you doing?” William stood, swaying, the desire in his eyes still blazing bluely across the room at her.

“William, I need Spike back. This is our only chance of getting him. This demon rod split Xander into two different people, but they were both him, just had different parts of his character. It’s complicated. I don’t understand it and I don’t know if it will work on you, but I need to try.”

“Buffy!” Anya took a step back. “Wait! Let me fetch Willow. This is really dark magic. You mustn’t – you don‘t know what will happen if you split a vampire into two. You might get hundreds of Spikes!”

Buffy laughed bitterly. “And need to have sex with all of them!”

“What! Sex? Who was talking about sex?” Anya’s voice went off the scale of squeal.

Buffy turned the silver key in the safe lock and swung open the heavy door. “There isn’t time to explain now. Believe me, “ She stared inside, gingerly pushing aside various bundles and boxes, bottles and bags. Then she gasped as she spotted something familiar lying at the back of the top shelf. “Here it is!”

She turned and Anya promptly took several steps backwards. “Buffy, wait! Think about it. What if it doesn‘t work?”

Buffy shrugged. “Then I give in. Have sex with William and cope with the Master when he rises. And I have to find a way of doing that without all Aurelians dying because Spike's as much an Aurelian as the Master. And I refuse to kill Spike or William or whoever it is. But think Anya, think about the last lines of the Demon Fire charm.”

The blonde girl stood for a second, running the words through her mind. “Past and present merged must be, by love, desire and need times three,” she said slowly.

“Exactly! I know Willow said that the Tazksha demon burning Spike and bringing William to life had nothing to do with this whole Master thing, but I’m not so sure. It’s too much of a coincidence. Spike becomes William so we have two people in one body. Well, I need both of them. There needs to be three of us to tackle the Master. I need Spike back! And if I get him and keep William, then there will be three of us.”

Anya bit her lip hard. “You might kill him and have no one,” she said.

William looked up sharply. “I don’t want to die! Buffy – ”

He stepped forward but it was too late. Buffy twisted the rod and a blinding flash of light hit William squarely in the chest. Once again he went flying across the basement, crashing into the opposite wall. But as he slumped to the floor, a slim, black-coated figure appeared next to him.

A quizzical eyebrow was raised and there was laughter in two very blue eyes that looked across the room. “Bloody hell, Slayer. Whatever you’re doing with that thing, it hurts. And – ” he gazed down at the silent figure by his feet, “Who the hell is that and why is he wearing my denim jacket?”

To be continued