It all started with a bang.
Just not, you know, the literal kind. There really wasn’t much sound, now that I think about it. It was all in the eyes, if you see what I mean. Maybe Angel can brood with the best of them, maybe Spike is a champion at smirking, but me? I can death-glare anyone into submission. You kinda have to when you’ve got three dozens girls bickering over what color the Slayer uniform should be.
For the record, I chose black because it’s easier to go around at night without being noticed and because it doesn’t show bloodstains too much. Not any other reason. But anyway.
So, that’s how it started. I step into the hotel, stand on the landing, and they’re there, in the lobby, in each other’s face, arguing about whatever. There’s a boy maybe Dawn’s age watching them from behind a counter, looking exasperated, or maybe amused, and a blue woman near a green plant in the back, but it’s the two of them I glare at. It’s the two of them I came all this way to see. To yell at.
Except that, now that I’m here, I can’t yell. I can’t say a word. I can only glare at them as they fall silent and turn to me.
And then the boy clears his throat and asks, “Hi, can we help you?”
I don’t take my eyes away from them but I nod. “Yeah. Two friends of mine completely lost their minds. Any way you can help me kick some sense back into them?”
After a few more seconds, the boy laughs. Spike grins. Angel shakes his head.
And me… well, I’m just glad the idiots didn’t get themselves killed. I’d have dusted them if they had done something that stupid.
Five days have passed since the apocalypse that almost was. Five days of incessant rain, wind and thunder. I don’t mind the cloud cover so much, but the rain? It got old really fast. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Angelinos are slowly leaving the city. Somehow, between the flood of demons and the literal flood, they started figuring out that, maybe, something was going on that wasn’t fully normal. You’d think a look at the dragon would have been enough. Humans. Heh.
That’s actually what the big brooder and I are arguing about when she comes in. I am for getting out of there before the need for an ark starts becoming pressing. He wants to save the city – what else is new.
And then… and then she’s here.
She’s dressed in black from head to toes – black boots, tight black pants, even tighter top beneath a hooded black jacket. Perfect for the weather we’ve been having. But when she pushes her hood back, gold spills on her shoulders, as bright as ever. I don’t need to ask why she’s there.
It’s clear as day that she came to bring back the sun.
From where he’s leaning back against the wall, arms crossed and a cigarette dangling from his lips, Spike snorts. When I glance at him, he rolls his eyes at me.
“Do you really need to ask?” he says, sneering.
“I do,” I say, and although I keep my eyes on him, I’m really talking to her. “Because last we heard, the Council didn’t want to have anything to do with us.”
“It’s not the Council anymore,” she says calmly, drawing both our gazes back to her. “And Andrew can get a little… over enthusiastic when he’s on a mission. He wasn’t speaking for me.”
There’s a quiet confidence emanating from her, something I’m not used to. In my mind, she’s forever seventeen, forever sweet and naïve and in need of protection. Every time I see her and realize she has grown older, wiser, stronger, it’s like I’m losing her again, just a little more.
Like there’s more of her to love than I ever knew.
“But you did know what was going on, right?” I ask, needing to be sure.
She shrugs. “I knew about your fancy new job, yeah.” Her eyes drift to Spike, the smallest frown pulling at her eyebrows. “And that you were a ghost. And then not a ghost anymore.” She looks back at me, and now there’s pain hiding behind her words. “I know about your werewolf friend. And that you make a cute puppet. I know you lost friends.” She lets out a long sigh. “And I sure as hell know we could have helped if you had just let us know what you were planning.”
Somehow, hearing her mention Nina sends a pang of guilt through me. Not guilt toward Buffy – the opposite, in fact. Guilt toward Nina. Because she was my friend, yes. A friend with benefits, I’ve heard it called. But in the end, no more than a friend.
“There was no time,” I start explaining, even as Spike moves to stand by me and says sharply, “Get off your high horse, love. We’ve heard about your exploits too. How’s the Immortal, then?”
I’m not sure what surprises me most: that he’s defending me – because it’s clear to me that’s what he’s doing – or that she’s blushing so brightly.
Time to get my mind back on track. “You said years ago I had tragic taste in men. I was just keeping up with the trend.”
Spike snorts, but the hard look from just a second ago melts away, replaced by amusement. He rests his arm along the back of Angel’s chair, seemingly completely at ease. I hadn’t really expected that either.
“Don’t be mad he didn’t call,” he says, inclining his head toward Angel. “You didn’t miss much. Sort of a repeat from last year, but a lot wetter. You’d have been bored.”
“Really?” I raise an eyebrow at him and can’t help grinning. “I heard you battled a dragon. That must have been a fun fight.”
He laughs at that, and his eyes sparkle. It’s been a long time since I saw Spike this… happy. “That, I don’t know,” he says, chuckling. “Someone claimed that dance and wouldn’t share.”
His glance at Angel makes it clear who he means. Angel grins and shrugs. “Someone had to do it,” he says pointedly, then turns back to me. “Not that I’m not glad to see you, but why are you here, Buffy?”
I could tell them I came to help them fix the mess they created. I could say Willow will arrive tomorrow, and she should be able to fix the weather. I could promise to stay as long as it takes to clean the city – as long as they want me here. I could dance around the topic forever – like I’ve done for so long already.
Instead, my eyes go back and forth between them, and I give them the simple truth. It’s still a new tune for me, and I’m not sure I know the steps that go with it, but I’m willing to learn.
“I’ve missed you,” I say quietly, and realize as they both frown and glare at each other that it’s not enough. “Both of you.”
I know how deep her feelings for him ran. Still run, I guess. Always will.
And what he knows is that in the end, when she was fighting the fight of her life, she picked me to stand by her side. To die – though he doesn’t see it that way.
We’re not done glaring at each other that she amends her words.
She missed both of us.
And what the hell is that supposed to mean?
Seconds trickle by. Enough for her heart to beat thirty-two times. I’m not sure why I count. My mind is blank except for that sound, blank except for her words.
What does she mean?
I’m scared to ask.
I’ve battled Slayers, vampires, spirits, demons, primordial gods – well, just the one, but she was a tough one. I’ve looked Angelus in the eyes without flinching – not saying I got out of these confrontations unscathed, but I didn’t back out of them.
But this? During these thirty-two heartbeats, all I can think of is, I don’t want to know what she means. I don’t want to hear that she doesn’t mean what I think she means – what I would like her to mean. I know she’s got a kinky side – we played games a few precious times – but this? No. She can’t mean—
Thirty-two heartbeats, and Angel is the one to ask. “What does that mean, you’ve missed us both?”
Two minutes ago, she was blushing when I reminded her of the Immortal. She’s blushing again, but she’s not looking down. Not backing away. Not even hesitating when she says, “It means exactly what you think it means. Now here’s my question. What are we going to do about it?”
I hate that I have to say it. I hate that I have to be the reasonable one. Don’t eat all the ice cream, put the scissors down, go to bed early, kill the demons without playing with them first – don’t try to make me lose my soul again.
Why is it OK for Spike to act like a kid day in and day out, why can Buffy even say things like this when I—
“Are you honestly telling me you could be happy when you have single-handedly caused a demon invasion in Los Angeles?”
Buffy’s words are as sweet as honey; her eyes, hard as steel.
Spike laughs and claps my shoulder. “She’s got a point there. I’d say you’ve got enough guilt in stock to last you a few years at least. And if not, you know me, I’m more than willing to stake you if I need to.”
They’re insane. Both of them.
I push away from the desk and stand. My chair topples behind me. I’m out of the office before it hits the floor.
“Hey Dad, we got a call for—”
I take the slip of paper Connor is holding out, grab a sword and head for the door. I look back before going out – and catch just a glimpse of them in the office. Kissing.
I can’t say I saw that coming.
Well, I hadn’t actually planned to be that blunt. In the back of my mind, I had this half-formed idea that we’d fix the mess in LA, and I’d stay a bit longer after that to taste the waters, so to speak. And instead…
“My Slayer’s all grown up.”
Spike’s words bring my attention back to him. He comes over to me, the usual smirk and swagger shield firmly in place. His eyes are troubled, though, and I’m pretty sure he was as taken aback by Angel’s reaction as I was.
“If you meant it, that is.”
All right, so maybe it’s not Angel he’s worried about right now. And maybe I should focus on the person in front of me, too.
I stand and raise an eyebrow at him. “Are you going to claim I’m lying again?”
“Never thought you were lying,” he says slowly.
The old pain resurfaces and twists my stomach into knots. “I told you I loved you, and you—”
He reaches up and presses a finger across my lips. “And I was dying. I tried to help you move on.”
A year. A little more than a year. I’ve been berating myself all this time for not telling him sooner, for lying to both him and myself far too long, for waiting until it was too late to tell him.
And all this time…
“You idiot,” I say, and throw my arms around him.
I never knew his smile tasted so sweet.
After a few seconds, she pulls away and gives me a goofy grin.
“So… you still love me?” she asks, sounding just a little worried.
It must be the day for stupid questions. Honestly, these two are hopeless. “Do you really need to ask?”
She shrugs and rests her cheek on my shoulder. “Just checking. You two came all the way to Rome and didn’t even say hi.”
I can’t help but grimace at the memory. “Yeah, well, Andrew made it clear—”
Her body starts shaking and for a second I’m afraid she’s crying. I quickly realize that she’s chuckling, though, and pull back to look at her. What is so funny?
“Andrew,” she says, still chuckling. “If you knew everything he made clear…”
This time, she laughs aloud. It takes her a few seconds before she can calm down enough to explain. “After you two came to Rome, the girls started giving me funny looks. I sat them down and they showed me these…stories Andrew writes on his days off. Apparently, your visit gave him ideas.” At my blank look, she continues, with a small, deprecating smile. “Let’s just say it made me realize I wasn’t the only one who was fantasizing about the three of us.”
I join her chuckling. “Been fantasizing long, love?” I start tugging her top out of her pants so I can reach skin but she steps back and bats my hands away.
“Never mind that, now.” There’s a bit more color in her cheeks than there was a minute ago, as though she just realized she said more than she meant. “What do we do about Angel?”
I don’t even have time to worry that I’m just an afterthought in that fantasy of hers – she doesn’t give me that time. She reaches for my hand and squeezes gently. Her smile is all mine. I’m pretty sure I could push, pull, play with words, and convince her that Angel will join us when he’s ready and there’s no need to wait for him.
I could at least try.
Instead, I sigh. “Give me twenty minutes,” I say. “And then come find us.”
Before I go, I do claim another kiss. The first one was sugar. This one is fire.
Angel is a fucking idiot.
Like that’s anything new.
But I’ll be damned if I didn’t wish—
“Are you done with the self-sacrificing crap already?”
Spike falls into step with me. I keep my eyes straight ahead. If I look at him I’m going to put my fist in his face – or my sword through his body. I clench my hand on the hilt and walk a little faster, before realizing that getting back home wouldn’t help anything. I stop abruptly and try to decide where to go. There’s always demons roaming the streets, these days, I shouldn’t have too much trouble finding something to kill.
“Come on, don’t pretend you don’t want to. Not to me.”
Or I could just start by killing Spike.
Turning to him, I raise the sword until the point is just an inch from his throat. He blinks away a drop of rain clinging to his eyelashes but doesn’t move.
“Shut up.” The words come out as a growl. “Just go home and—”
“Not going back without you,” he cuts in.
Lowering the sword, I turn my face to the sky and laugh. The thunder drowns the sound. When I look back at Spike, he’s slicking his hair back. We’re both drenched. We’ve been just as drenched since this mess started. Just as guilty. But the guilt slides off him like rain off his coat, and me…
“So she won’t take you if I’m not there?” I ask, filling the words with contempt. “That’s gotta sting, doesn’t—”
He attacks. I drop the sword and strike back. Water splashes beneath our feet, and the sound of the rain muffles our blows along with our grunts of pain. It ends as it always does. His hands grip the back of my head as I press him back against the closest wall and kiss him hard – hard enough that blood trickles from his bruised lips and flavors the kiss.
After a few seconds, the excitement of the fight, of the blood, of having Spike fades away, overwhelmed by a certainty. I never had any doubt whom he’d choose if it came to that.
“Just… go with her,” I say, stepping away and severing all contact between us. I turn away and pick up my sword. “You wanted to leave LA. Go to Rome with her. Anywhere. Just go.”
I start walking away. A single, quiet word stops me.
I look back at him. Through the curtain of rain that turns the entire city to a gray blur, all I can see is his eyes. They’re still blue, but they’re burning brighter than if he was in game face.
“No,” he says again, and pushes away from the wall. “I told you I’d stay, and I meant that. And I’m pretty sure she’s not going anywhere either. You really think you can out-stubborn us both?”
I shake my head. Why doesn’t he see this can’t happen? “My soul—”
“Is not going anywhere,” he cuts in again, implacable, and continues to take slow steps toward me. “You know it. I know it. You wouldn’t be keeping your son anywhere close if you thought any different.”
There’s just the smallest hint of a question to his words. I look down, wordlessly admitting he’s right. I’ve got too much blood on my hands for even this endless storm to wash. There are too many ghosts standing between Angelus and freedom.
“How about we get out of this bloody rain?” I can hear the smirk in his words as he adds, “I’ll race you. Loser watches round one without touching.”
With a snort, I grab the back of his head and pull him in for another kiss.
“Idiot,” I say when I pull away. “I don’t think Buffy—”
Someone clears their throat behind me. When I turn away, she’s there. Her hood, drawn low over her face, darkens her features, but there’s no mistaking the desire in her eyes and voice.
“A race sounds good, actually. I’ll even give you boys a head start.”
Spike’s laughter echoes behind him as he starts running. I watch Buffy a couple seconds longer. She smiles, and nods at me, a small nod that tells me it'll be OK. Everything will work out. All I have to do is trust her, and Spike. I nod back and follow him. I’m rather certain it’s not an accident that she never catches up with us and only enters the hotel a few moments after me.
When I come out of the office, the blue woman is still busy with her plant – maybe they should get a room. The boy gives me a puzzled look.
“You’re going to run off too?” he asks, glancing at the front door.
“Soon.” I hold my hand out to him. “I’m Buffy.”
There’s no look of recognition whatsoever on his face as he shakes my hand. I guess my name doesn’t come up all that often. Feeling the love.
“Connor. You want to go pick a bedroom or you’re going to sleep with them?”
He says it with a straight face and no hint of teasing whatsoever. I can only stare at him, heat burning my cheeks. It’s only when he glances at our hands that I realize I’m still holding on to his. I let go as though burned, but still don’t know what to say.
“Sorry,” he says with a thin smile. “I kinda heard you three talking and it sounded like you’d be living with us.”
I force words past my lips. If I’m really doing this, it’s not like I can keep it a secret – and I wouldn’t want to do that anyway. He’s just the first person to know. At least he doesn’t sound bothered or judgmental about it, which is nice. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of that thrown my way soon.
“I think I will, yes. And I guess we’ll sort out the rooms thing when Angel comes back.”
He nods as though this were the most normal thing. “Cool. It’s a nice place, I’m sure you’ll like it. We even have an indoor pool, if I ever manage to convince Dad to fill it.”
I look around, wondering just how many people live in this place. “You and your Dad live here too?”
He gives me a weird look. “Well, yeah. It’s his place.”
I’m just as confused as he sounds. “I thought this was Angel’s…” Realization strikes me out of nowhere. Willow let something slip, once. I look at the boy through brand new eyes. I guess there's a bit of resemblance. I wonder where he picked up blue eyes, though. “You’re Angel’s son.”
He grins. “Didn’t I mention that?”
I can’t help chuckling. Willow never said how old he was, but I expected a baby, or at the most a toddler. I can’t say I’m not curious, but questions can wait, whereas I am out of patience. It can’t have been more than five minutes, but I’ll just walk slow.
“Listen, I don’t suppose you know where Angel went?”
He does. Not only that, but he is also able to tell me how to get there. My decision to walk slowly lasts all of two minutes, and then I start running, my boots splashing water on the asphalt with each step. When I find them, I’m so startled I almost slip in a puddle the size of a baby’s pool.
My heart hammering faster than the beating of the pounding rain, I retreat behind the closest corner and lean back against the wall.
All right, so maybe this doesn’t come as a total surprise. The Watchers’ Diaries hinted at something like that – really veiled hints I didn’t understand until long after I had read them; until I read more of Andrew’s fanfiction, actually. Not all of his stories include me. I didn’t read the ones in which he wrote himself as a character, because frankly I don’t need that kind of mental trauma, but I may have peeked at the Spike with Angel ones. Andrew’s stuff is pretty graphic, but I just realized something. He’s a really sucky writer. Because as… stimulating as his stories were, they’re nothing compared to the glimpse of a kiss I just got. I'm shivering, but it doesn't have anything to do with the rain and my drenched clothes.
I can’t help peeking again. They’re talking now; pity. I walk to them just in time to hear Spike suggest going home. Just in time for another short but hot kiss. I don’t know why seeing them like this makes my heart jump and my mouth turn dry. I don’t know why I’m not jealous. I just know two things. First, it’s a very good thing that they like each other that way, because I wasn’t looking forward to them being jealous of each other. Second… I’ll happily wait for my turn if it means I get to see more than a kiss.
“I tried to stop her,” Connor says from where he’s seating on top of the counter, not even glancing up from his gameboy. He’s staring at that thing far too studiously, and there’s a bit too much color in his cheeks. Something tells me he wasn’t so prudish before I came in. “You know how she is when she doesn’t want to listen.”
Sighing, I step down into the lobby and approach Illyria. I know all too well, yes. She’s lying on the floor, dirt covering her face and chest, a newly out of its pot plant on her stomach – and did I mention she’s starkers? I crouch next to her and brush the dirt away from her closed eyes and mouth.
“Blue? We’ve got an impressionable kid in the room. You want to put some clothes back on?”
The impressionable kid makes some sputtering noises behind me, but I don’t have time for that now.
“I am a plant,” she announces on the same kind of voice she once used to tell us she was a god and we were worms.
“You can be anything you want, luv. But how about being a clothed plant?”
I can hear the door opening behind me. I look back to see Angel come in. His half grin vanishes when he sees Illyria. He takes a step forward but I shake my head just as the Slayer walks in, drenched to the bones. She pushes her hood back and her eyes go from Angel to me, her smile fading fast like his did.
“I’ll take care of it,” I say. “You can make it up to me later.”
It’s clear to me that Angel is going to protest, but I give him an impatient look and turn my attention back to our blue queen. She hasn’t been all there since the big battle. She got us out of it, sure, but she burned herself doing it. At times, she reminds me of Dru.
I can hear steps going up the staircase, but I keep my eyes on Illyria. “Plants need water,” I say gently, and cup the back of her head in my hand. “Why don’t we go water you?”
Her eyes open and she frowns slightly as she sits up, dislodging the dying bit of green on her belly. “The rain,” she says, her eyes fleeting to the front door. “It will nourish me and—”
“Nah, you don’t want that rain.” I help her to her feet, keeping a hand on her elbow to guide her to the staircase. “LA’s all polluted, who knows how much acid there’s in that rain? Let’s get you in the shower instead.”
She seems to ponder that, and after a moment she nods. “Maybe I should be a fish instead.”
“Anything you want, luv,” I say again. “But fishes have scales. Kinda like clothes. Maybe…”
By the time we take out second step up the staircase, she’s back in her usual leather gear, although the texture is different, scale-like. I glance back at the counter to find that Connor’s gaze is following our progress.
“Clean that mess,” I say, pointing at the dirt and dying plant. I can tell he’s about to protest, and I glare at him. “Clean it and I’ll forget you were ogling her. Brat.”
He rolls his eyes at me but slides off the counter. I take Illyria to her room, get her to clean a bit, and coax her into her bed. Sleep usually shakes away the worse of it. I leave her when I’m sure she’s tucked in for the night and close her door behind me.
The room Angel and I have been sharing is at the end of the hallway; the door is half open.
She gives me a half smile. “Making me feel like I’m seventeen and innocent again.”
We kiss. There’s nothing innocent about it.
“Isn’t it unlucky to make big decisions on the thirteenth?”
I have a feeling it’s not. Because I’m about to become a very lucky woman.
“Well?” They turn to me. I shrug out of my duster and peel off my wet t-shirt. “What are you waiting for? An engraved invitation? The soaring sound of violins?”
They look at each other. Angel reaches out to help Buffy out of her jacket but she steps back.
“I was last,” she says. “I’m sitting this one out.”
I turn to Spike; he looks amused more than surprised. Our eyes meet. He raises an eyebrow. I give a tiny shake of head. He nods, just as faintly, and I’m a little relieved that we can agree on this, at least. Spike steps forward, stripped to the waist. He slides an arm around me and I return the embrace, but we both turn to her.
“It’s not like there’s only room for one of us here,” Spike says, an edge of laughter sharpening his words.
Buffy’s eyes widen and she leans forward – toward us – before stilling again. She’s wavering, but she’s not there yet. Is it her curiosity that’s stopping her – or is she hesitating because she has doubts? Because she’s scared?
“If we’re really doing this,” I say, holding my free hand out to her, “it can’t start with one of us standing aside.”
Spike holds out his hand too. “There’ll be time for a show later, luv. We’ll even find oil if you want.”
A spark of laughter lights up her eyes. I’m pretty sure I’m missing something here, some kind of joke, but it doesn’t trouble me long. She takes both our hands in hers, lets us draw her to us, and the circle is complete.
And then Spike mentions oil, and my fear falls away as I come close to laughing aloud. For a second, I have this image in my mind of the three of us, strolling arm in arm in a grocery store, picking up food, hot cocoa and marshmallows, too many hair products for one bathroom – and massage oil. And lube, I suppose. Whipped cream. Nutella.
Oh yeah, definitely nutella.
For now, though, the game is simpler.
First, it’s just hands unbuttoning, unlacing, pulling and tugging at wet clothes until we’re standing, naked and shivering, though not from the cold anymore. Those same hands hold and guide, and we’re soon sitting and kneeling together on the bed.
Then, it’s mouths and fingers stroking skin and lips, and it becomes harder to keep track of whose lips or fingers are on whom. I can tell the fingers tangled in my hair, holding just on the edge of too tight, are Spike’s. I can tell it’s Angel’s mouth on my shoulder, slowly winding its way to the marks on my neck. Does it matter, though?
Does it matter who laps at my right nipple and who pinches the left between thumb and forefinger? Does it matter whose cock is in my right hand – and whose is in my left? They’re just as hard, one more familiar than the other, maybe, but equally beautiful. Equally delicious, too, when I push them both to lie on the bed and kneel between them, where I can caress them in turns with my lips and tongue.
Angel is the first to moan my name, the first to reach out and cup the back of my head, demanding that I stay a little longer with him. Without taking my mouth off him, I glance at Spike. He winks at me and turns on his side to lay his mouth on Angel’s.
The kiss is as fiery as the one I had a glimpse of earlier – just as hot. I can’t tear my eyes off them even as I suck on the tip of Angel’s cock, sliding my tongue along the slit to lick the precome gathered there. When Spike pulls away, both Angel and I protest. Spike chuckles.
“Greedy,” he says, his voice like melted chocolate. “Both of you.”
And then he moves behind me, and neither Angel nor I are protesting anymore. Angel sits up, his eyes widening even as mine close.
I had almost forgotten how talented Spike’s fingers are; almost forgotten how perfectly his cock fits inside me. His hands gentle but tight on my hips, he takes a first, slow thrust, pushing me forward so that Angel’s cock slides a little deeper into my mouth. I moan. Angel groans. Spike sighs.
Does it get any better than this?
Five nights ago, after the alley, Angel and I carried Blue to his old hotel. We tucked her into a slightly dusty bed, tiptoed out, closed the door. And then we fucked. Right there in the hallway. He pushed me face first into the wall. I had already dropped my jeans. He was inside me in two seconds flat. Neither of us tried to be quiet. Which made it all that easier for the boy to walk in on us and interrupt.
After we hiked up our pants, after he stopped wishing aloud for blindness and promising Angel to send him the bill for his therapy, after he had proved himself more stubborn than his father and declared he wasn’t going anywhere – after I picked my jaw off the floor upon learning he was Angel’s son – Connor retreated to a bedroom down the same hallway. That left Angel and I, standing in front of each other, the urgency dulled to throbbing need. Seconds passed, and neither of us moved. When we react to each other, we do all right, but when we start thinking it’s never good.
“I should go,” I said eventually.
Angel blinked. “Go where?”
“I don’t know. Elsewhere.”
“You could stay here,” he said, shrugging.
I won’t lie; I wanted to. I just wasn’t sure he did. He’d been telling me to leave LA for months. “You should give me three good reasons to stay.”
I’m still not sure why I said that. I’m not sure either why my voice was shaking so much when I did.
“I’m going to need help with Illyria,” he said, frowning a little. “She likes you. It’ll help if you’re there.”
I didn’t reply. I could see his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down when he swallowed hard.
“And Connor… He’s tried to kill me a few times. Maybe you could keep an eye on him.”
I still don’t know if he was joking. I can’t say I cared much then, or that I do now. He’d said he wanted me there as a caretaker, and as a line of defense. I had been that before. It wasn’t enough, not anymore. But after a few seconds of a too heavy silence, he gave me a third reason – a better one. He kissed me, just lips on lips, and then simply said, “Stay.”
So I did.
We’re not good with words – not when we’re talking to each other, at least. Actions speak more clearly.
Tonight, I could have asked him if he was all right with me fucking her first – fucking her at all – and he could have lied.
But when I do slip inside her, I look at him, and I’ve got an answer, clear as day. He passes the test with flying colors.
This really is going to work.
The thought is more than enough to spur me on. As I start moving inside her, the only thing on my mind is Buffy’s pleasure.
And all right, maybe my own, too.
Focusing on that annoying sound is the only thing keeping me from coming.
If not for that barking, I’d be overwhelmed by the heat of Buffy’s mouth on my cock. I’d have to reach out to caress her face. I’d have a hard time keeping my eyes off Spike as he thrusts inside her, as his hands play on her body, as he leans down and murmurs in her ear, “Just a hint of teeth, luv. It drives him crazy too.”
She does as he says, and I’m the one howling in the night.
The second, it’s me.
The third, we join our efforts and make Spike come so hard that he passes out.
The fourth… I’m not even sure. I am half asleep for that one, just barely conscious of the hands, mouths and cocks on me, inside me, nudging me toward pleasure without ever really pulling me out of sleep. It’s like a dream – a very gentle, very erotic dream that ends in the best possible way.
I’m just barely aware, afterwards, that they’re arranging my body between them, their arms crossing over me to hold each other. The covers feel warm and comfy, and so do they. I let myself fall back into a contented sleep, thinking that there’ll be time after a little nap to show them how much I appreciate them taking care of me.
It’s mid-morning when Connor knocks on the door. By my internal clock, which is still set on Rome’s time, it’s early evening and my stomach complains at having skipped both breakfast and lunch. I sit up grumpily between two equally grumpy vampires.
“Dad?” Thank God he doesn’t try to open the door. “Willow’s here. And some Slayers. And Illyria decided she’s a bird, now and she won’t come off the counter. Maybe you three should come down?”
You three. He says it like it’s the most natural thing in the world. I look at Angel on my right, at Spike on my left, and I’ve got to agree with him. There’s nothing simpler than this, than the three of us right here, like this. I’d almost feel sorry that it took us so long to get there, but I have a feeling we all had to travel to this point on our own to make it work.
“We’ll be right there,” Angel calls out, and we can hear Connor walking away.
I want to ask about a shower, but I yawn widely before being able to get a word out. Spike chuckles.
“Did we tire you out, luv?”
He’s already slipping out of bed, holding a hand out to me. I take it without thinking and stand, looking back to see Angel getting up on the other side.
“We should shower together,” he says, walking over to what turns out to be a bathroom. “In the interest of saving time, of course.”
I look at him in amazement, so surprised that it takes Spike’s hand tugging on mine to put me in motion. I give Spike an incredulous look. “Did he just make a joke? What did you do to him?”
He laughs as he ushers me into the small bathroom, but he doesn’t reply. Angel is already under the shower spray, and he holds his hand out to me to help me step in the shower. Spike follows after me and closes the curtain.
It’s nowhere near big enough for the three of us but we make it work, scrubbing dried come off each other, sneaking in a few touches that are not entirely innocent. We dry up the same way, toweling each other then helping each other get dressed. My pants and underwear are mostly dry, but my top is still damp. They notice at the same time and react the same way – Angel by grabbing a shirt from his closet, Spike by pulling a t-shirt from a drawer. I thank them both and put on the t-shirt and shirt.. It’s all too obvious that they’re not my clothes, but that’s just as well. I promised myself that, if this was to happen, I wouldn’t try to hide it.
Time to face my best friend. That should go well.
Wishful thinking again.
The staircase isn’t wide enough for the three of us to walk side by side. Angel goes first, Spike and I a step behind him. When we reach the landing, Spike presses a quick kiss to my lips before hurrying to the counter where the Blue woman is crouching and observing the room with one eye then the other. I step forward, stopping by Angel’s side.
Willow is standing in the lobby, surrounded by six of the LA-based Slayers. The first thing I notice is her umbrella. A small pool of rain has formed beneath the tip. I guess it’s still raining, then.
She looks at me and her smile wavers for just a second when she sees the way I’m clothed, but it doesn’t seem to bother her much.
“So,” she says brightly, rubbing her hands together. “Who’s up for a bit of sunshine?” Her expression falls as she considers Angel then Spike. “Right, maybe not the best question in present company.”
Spike is too busy trying to talk the woman down to notice, but Angel smiles, and I chuckle at her small joke. He slips his hand in mine and Willow notices at once, her eyes widening a little. I can tell that she understands in just a second what is going on. I meet her eyes calmly, bracing myself for the frown I just know is coming. Instead, I get a questioning eyebrow.
“Unless someone here needs a gypsy curse?” she asks, swallowing hard.
“All souls accounted for,” I say, squeezing Angel’s hand once. “Let’s start with the weather, and then we can figure out how we’ll clean the city.”
She nods, and starts digging in her bag of supplies.
The knot in the pit of my belly tightens almost painfully. It’s beginning to scare me how well things are going so far. Maybe I should start worrying.
It’d be nice if someone noticed that I’ve worked a small miracle here too. Five days of taking care of our fallen goddess, of sweet-talking, of listening to her ramblings and making sure she doesn’t—
Angel walks over to us. He doesn’t say a word, doesn’t even look at me as he continues discussing the plan of attack with the Slayers. But his shoulder brushes mine. That’s enough.
I doubt Hallmark makes “Thanks for taking care of my insane pets” cards anyway.
But Buffy is not hiding anything. She kisses Spike. Holds my hand. Stands near us, brushing against either one of us whenever she can.
I get it when I notice Spike’s surprise and delight – and I can only love her more for it.
“I don’t know where the hell I put them.”
They are so… exasperating!
“It was bloody stupid to lock it up anyway. She could just break the glass and take any weapon she wants.”
“But we’d hear that.”
I swear I am going to get that oil and it won’t be to use in the bedroom.
“Why is it my fault? Why don’t you keep an eye on the weapons and on the crazy blue woman?”
“Dad? The keys are right there.”
I think I’m going to like Connor.
We can’t leave her alone, but can we really trust her in a fight?
Someone has to keep an eye on her. For the first time, I balk at the task. On our last stop before we are to separate and take our positions, I drag Angel apart from the chattering Slayers. Buffy is giving last minute orders to her troops, something about not playing the hero and relying on the partners they’ve been paired with. My concern is a little different.
“I want to switch partners.”
We’re standing beneath a streetlight, but I’d have had no trouble making out his expression even in full darkness. He doesn’t want to switch the teams now.
“Spike, it’s too late—”
“No it’s not. It’s a simple switch. Someone else can deal with Blue for once. I need a break.”
He sighs and turns over to where Illyria is observing Willow, almost like she recognizes her. Willow looks a little spooked.
“Is it about needing a break from Illyria,” he asks, his gaze returning to me, “or is it about wanting to be with Buffy?”
I pinch my lips tight and hold his gaze. Let him think what he wants.
“If you and I switch,” he says after a few seconds, “Connor will want to switch as well, and that’ll leave just you and Buffy on that overpass. We need a three-man team there. That means switching positions as well. That messes up—”
I interrupt him with a sigh. The bastard is as thick as I accuse him to be, sometimes. “Fine, whatever.”
(I know. The quality of my comebacks has been sub-par lately. I’ve been hanging out with the brat a bit too much. Bite me.)
Frustrated, I start walking away from him, but he catches my arm and holds me back.
“There’ll be plenty of other fights,” he says when I glance back at him.
I shrug and try to shake him off, but he doesn’t let go quite yet. “Plenty of times for the three of us to fight together,” he insists.
So maybe he’s not as clueless as I thought.
“If it was up your ass, you'd know where it was!”
I frown at that – we’re just minutes away from a big fight, and this is not helping these girls prepare for it. Before I can decide whether to say anything, Buffy is standing in front of the two girls, and even though she’s inches shorter than both of them, they’re both squirming under her glaring.
“Is there a problem here?” she says, her voice as cold and cutting as steel.
The girls flinch, and their peers seem to inch back.
“No ma’am,” the one who snapped says quickly.
“Everything’s fine,” the other adds just as fast.
Buffy stares at them for a few more seconds until both girls drop their gazes to the ground. “I’m glad to hear that,” she says, still as coldly. “Because you’d have to be complete fools to be arguing now, and I don’t take too well to people who act like fools. You may have heard of Audrey?”
By the way all six Slayers shudder at the name, they have indeed her of Audrey, whoever that is. I need to ask, later; it sounds like a good story.
“I see we’re all on the same page, then. It’s time. Let’s go.” But before anyone can move, she adds, “And I’ll see you two tomorrow in my office.”
The girls are pale as sheets as they hurry away. As for me, I am staring at Buffy and wondering what the hell just happened.
“They call you Ma’am?”
She turns to me with a sheepish smile and shrugs. “Yeah. One of them started calling me that like a joke and then they were all doing it.” Her eyes glint with a hard flame. “And then it wasn’t a joke anymore.”
I can’t help but laugh. If I needed one more proof that she’s grown up, there it is. And I rather like this side of her. It opens up intriguing possibilities...
We start walking toward the overpass where we’ll be fighting, Connor following us a few steps back. After a while, the end of her conversation comes back to my mind and I have to ask, “You said you’d talk to them in your office… that means you’re going to live with them at the Slayer compound?”
“Well I was kinda thinking I’d borrow yours,” she says matter of factly.
I laugh again. “Yes, ma’am.”
She throws a grin at me and before I know it, sneaks a hand to my ass for a quick pinch.
“Oh gawd,” Connor says behind us with exaggerated gagging noises. “And I thought Spike was bad.”
Willow volunteers to take the girls back to the base after I promise we can talk later. Angel sends Connor to bed, Spike does the same with Illyria – and they get protests from them that sound scarily similar.
And then it’s just the three of us in the lobby, looking at each other, already grinning…
The three of us – and my grumbling stomach. I guess not everything can go perfectly well.
I press my hands to my belly and shrug, sheepish. I had a bite before we went to fight, but that was hours ago, and it feels like days.
“Breakfast?” Angel says with a slight grin.
I nod fervently. “Breakfast, lunch, dinner, anything.”
Laughing, Spike takes my hand and brings it to his lips. “Let’s find you something to eat, then.”
They’re not any better at cooking than I am, but between the three of us we manage to whip up pancakes. They don’t look like much, but they’re edible. There’s no syrup to put on them, but they find me a half full bottle of chocolate syrup and a small bear-shaped jar of honey. I cover the pancakes in chocolate and wash them down with milk.
The honey, I don’t touch until we’re back in bed.
“What’s up?” I ask as I stand next to him. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Which, really, would not be that much out of the ordinary for us.
His gaze remains on Buffy. There’s just a bit of awe in his voice. “Just… look at her.”
I do – that’s not exactly a hardship as far as I’m concerned – but even then I ask, “Any reason in particular, now?”
Angel huffs and repeats, “Look at her.”
And this time I get it. She’s standing with her hands on her hips, a steely look in her eyes. I can’t see the expression on the girls’ faces, but I can see them flinch with every other word that falls from Buffy’s mouth.
I’ve been on the receiving end of that look and that lashing tongue often enough, but it just occurs to me that, to Angel, this side of her might be new. Judging by his fascination, he really doesn’t mind it.
I’ve got a feeling I just might get to see Angel on his knees sooner rather than later. My mouth turns dry and my cock hardens painfully at the thought.
“Think she’ll be done soon?” I ask, and the words come out just a little croaky.
Angel sighs softly. “God I hope so.”
They really are.
With an always-hungry teen and a ravenous Slayer in the house, I figured a supply run was in order. I know better than to let Spike tag along, but when Buffy said she was coming and asked him if he was, there wasn’t much I could say.
When we got to the store, I started picking up food. Real food. Vegetables, fruits, milk, juice, that sort of things. I figured we’d get ice cream for… dessert.
They had other ideas. They filled an entire cart with… stuff. Some of it is edible, sure, but I heard them whispering. I saw Spike’s grin and Buffy’s red cheeks. Five minutes in, I was hard.
The word has gone out that LA is now safe again – or as safe as it can be. People have been coming back. The store was packed. I stood in line for thirty-four minutes while they waited in the car.
I knew they weren’t just waiting.
And that's why we're never going shopping together again.
“Do we have to watch this?” Connor grumbles, throwing a dark look at the sofa where I’m curled up with Spike.
I want to defend my choice, but Spike snorts and says, “A bit of gratitude, junior.”
Connor throws a pillow at Spike’s head at his last word. Spike throws it right back. And I thought Spike and Angel were bad…
“Your new stepmom—” It’s my turn to whack him with a pillow, but he continues like nothing had happened, with only his smile, maybe, a little wider. “—got in one day the telly you’ve wanted since we first got here. So no, you don’t have to watch anything, but she’ll watch whatever she damn well pleases.”
Muttering something about getting popcorn, Connor leaves the suite we have arranged into a living room to host our new television. He has barely passed the door that Spike leans in close and says, “He’s got a point, though, luv. Honestly. Star Trek?”
I shrug. I had never watched it until I caught some reruns in Rome my first month there. I couldn’t understand a word at the time, but I missed home so I watched anyway.
After a few minutes, I’ve got to agree with them. This was a lot more fun when I made up the dialogue in my head. Spike starts getting a little frisky, his fingers sliding beneath my top, his mouth trailing along my jaw. I catch his hands between mine and cluck my tongue.
“He’ll be back in a minute,” I whisper. “Don’t start anything now.”
Spike laughs. “The kid’s seen worse than a little cuddling.”
I give him a snide look. “Yeah, well, maybe I’m not an exhibitionist.”
His laugh only grows louder. “You’re saying you minded, luv?”
The sudden heat in my cheeks is probably answer enough. He presses a kiss to my cheekbone, just beneath my eye, and as he pulls away his lips just brush against my eyelashes.
I finally got that show I wanted, last night. It was quite… satisfying. They’re both beautiful men – passionate men – on their own. Together…
Very satisfying indeed.
I’m getting hot just thinking about it, my panties already dampening. Spike shifts a little against me, resting his cheek on my shoulder, and his hold on my waist tightens a little. I know he knows. And if I know him at all, any minute now he’s going to mention I'm horny, going to suggest we retreat to our room, or go downstairs and try to convince Angel to join us rather than keep an eye on the phone. The damn thing hasn't rung in three days.
“Maybe you could ask for a DVD player, next.”
All right, so that was not the suggestion I expected.
“I think I was already pushing it with the TV,” I say with a chuckle. “My money will transfer over in a few more days, I can get it then if you want.”
He kisses my cheek again. “’T would be lovely. But I think you underestimate the power you have on Angel. You do realize you could ask anything from him and he’d give it to you, right?”
I turn an amused glance at him. “As I said, I’ll have my money in—”
“You don’t get it, pet. I don’t mean just buying you stuff. I mean doing anything for you. I may have an exhibitionist streak, but him? Not so much. So why do you think he went along with it last night?”
I blink, unsure what he means, and he must catch my uncertainty because he leans closer still and continues.
“You asked to see us fuck,” he whispers in the shell of my ear, “so he gave you that. And if you asked for something else, he’d give you that, too. If you asked that he let me fuck him for a change. Or that he give me a blowjob. I could never make him do that for me, but you? You’d just need to say the words and he’d fall on his knees. Hell, luv. If we just got you a strap-on he’d let you fuck him and plead for more.”
I doubt my eyes could grow any wider, my heart beat any faster, my mouth turn any dryer. I look at him and try to find something to say – anything at all – but Connor comes back, and I can’t imagine continuing this conversation in front of him. He and Spike banter some more about the popcorn Connor won’t share, about the names they can or cannot call each other, about what TV shows are worth watching and which aren’t – although they do seem to find some agreement on that.
The entire time, Spike’s words are replaying in my head.
He can’t be right. He’s just teasing me. There’s no way…
No. It’s not possible. Angel is quite capable of saying no to me. He left me. I begged him not to and…
And we both knew it was the right thing to do.
But now that I’m here, now that this is working – and it will keep working, I know it will, we all know it, we all want it to work – could it be different?
I wish I knew.
I wish the idea didn’t turn me on so much.
I wish… oh god, I wish this damn show would finish already so I could send Spike to wait in our room and go down to get Angel.
So I tell her. Bluntly.
I also slip in her ear suggestions on what she could demand from him – I want to watch, sure, but I don’t mind being included – not one bit.
It could go two ways. She could pull away, mortified, and never mention it again. Or…
Or she could look and smell like Christmas has come early.
Other memories, I will treasure until the day I’m ashes. They changed me, changed my life, for the better. The night Connor was born is one of those, along with the days he came back to me. The first kiss I shared with Buffy, and that day she doesn’t remember. The spark in Spike’s eyes when I finally understood.
The most recent of these special memories includes all three of them.
It started with Connor stopping by my office with a bag of popcorn and an exasperated look, and telling me to stop worrying so much. Telling me he knows perfect happiness is not anywhere in my near future, because he knows I see a bloodied blade every time I look at him, even if he doesn’t. And he’s right, of course.
It continued with Buffy. I knew as soon as she walked in what she wanted. Her scent made that all too clear. But she didn’t play coy, she didn’t stammer or allude or hint. She told me I was coming with her – and I was out of my chair and taking her hand before I knew it. I was hard before even that. They’ve admitted since then that Spike had given her some suggestions, but I didn’t know it at the time, and I couldn’t have cared less. All I knew was that there was no way I could say no to her, not when she looked at me like that – like I was hers, like she knew I’d have done anything for her.
It ended with Spike, once she had led me back to our room. Buffy had both of us undress each other and her, and then she announced she wanted to suck my dick. And just as casually, she told me to do the same to Spike. I’m not sure who was most surprised that I did – Spike or me. What I do know is that I was nowhere near good enough for him to come that fast - or that hard. He made up for it later, when Buffy drew me into her and asked me to be still so Spike could enter me. She kissed my lips, he kissed my neck, and when he started moving, pushing inside me, pushing me inside her, I knew this would last – I knew it, because I wasn’t letting go of them. Not ever.
It wasn’t our first night together, but it was the night I understood that we were more than three couples thrown together. It wasn’t Buffy and me, me and Spike and Spike and Buffy. It was the three of us – together. And that was only the beginning.