The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
--Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, Lines 1-4 by Thomas Gray (1751)
He hadn't seen her in so long, but he knew where she’d be—knew exactly where to find her when he got home. It had been over a week since he’d last seen her, but he could smell her in the air—a dead giveaway that she had been nearby recently. Well, that and the pile of demon carnage she left in her wake. And hey, length of time is a subjective thing, and a week was a bloody long time. He couldn’t keep away from her any longer, not after the trip to see the man about the thing. Spike knew just how entrenched in his soul she was. Not his soul... no. This wasn't about souls. How entrenched in his very being. The soul had never hurt him as much as being away from her.
And so he had appeared beside her, fighting evil. And crime. And all the other things they were supposed to fight because (God help him) they were the good guys. When the punches stopped flying and the dust cleared she had stared into his eyes for so long that he was wondering if she could even see him.
"I don't need you," she said, her voice small and her eyes intense. He felt as if someone had punched him in the gut. "I don't need you. I don't need you." Until he realized she was just trying to convince herself. She closed her eyes, chewed on her lip, and looked up at the sky as if there were something there just waiting for her to give in to temptation.
Then he was engulfed in her, wrapped in her arms, her lips latched to his, hot and insistent and begging without even having to say. He felt as if he were being pulled into her. She broke the kiss, pressing him tighter to her, wrapping him in her arms with strength that he felt certain cracked a rib. But he didn't particularly care. He encircled her in his own arms, bloodied knuckles mussing her clothes and staining her blonde hair. Her body trembled in his embrace and he ran his fingertips against her scalp, trying to sooth away the tears without acknowledging them.
"Oh, god," she said, barely able to speak around the lump in her throat. "God, oh god. Let's get out of here. Let's get out of her, please."
But neither of them wanted to let go. She was safe and he was complete and neither one wanted to move.
“Thought you weren’t coming back.”
“I always come back, pet.”
“I’m starting to believe that. You stayed away too long.”
He grinned into her hair, reveling in the scent of it and the soft slide of it against his cheek. “Was trickier than I thought.”
“I should’ve gone with you.”
“Glad you didn’t. Would’ve killed you.”
“Dope,” but her arms never loosened.
Days, weeks seemed to pass, though it couldn't have been more than five minutes.
"Yeah?" his voice was husky and he couldn't seem to get it in gear.
"My arm's asleep."
Slowly, they began to release each other from their death grips. Their muscles didn't want to obey. Only when her feet hit the ground again did she realized just how tightly they had been holding on. She hadn't even realized she wasn't grounded. Two mere mortals would've probably been crushed into one gory puddle. As it was, they'd both be circled by bruises.
She sniffed, took a breath, heaved a sigh. "Sorry." She tossed the hair out of her eyes, her arms still resting on his shoulders, his hands still entrenched around her waist. She felt like an idiot for crying. He’d only been away a few days after all. A little more than a week. But she hadn’t realized just how used to him she was... just how she—no she wouldn’t admit that. Not even to herself.
When she looked into his eyes she couldn't look away. He leaned forward, his lips pressing softly against hers, stealing her breath. Her lips trailed after his when he tried to pull away, drawing out the kiss for as long as she could.
"Let's get out of here," he said.
She laughed. "Yeah."
She had learned thousands of things about vampires since she had been called as the Slayer. Her life before was a blur, not the least of which because half of the memories were doctored, faked, or just plain untrue. But one of the things she continually discovered over and over again was that sleeping with a vampire inevitably destroyed whatever space you were in. Or maybe that destruction was just when she slept with Spike. Either way, the apartment was doomed from the moment they opened the door. They were lucky the door got opened instead of knocked in, but Buffy got the key in the lock and Spike got it turned and, once they fell backwards through it, he kicked it shut behind them.
The table was first to go, as Buffy tried to get the keys into the bowl she had by the door. The bowl crashed to the floor, Buffy's back cracked against the corner of the table and Spike crushed her against the wall, the table toppled behind them.
"Ah, Spike?" she gasped—he couldn't tell if in pain or pleasure. Wasn't sure they weren't the same thing anyway.
"Mm. Don't stop."
"Wasn't planning on it."
Then the lamp went. Someone lost a shoe. They crashed backwards over the back of her couch, rolling straight off the cushions and onto the floor, Spike taking the brunt of the fall. He cracked his elbow on the sharp edge of the coffee table on the way down, crying out and trying to shake a little feeling back into his fingers, shoving the offending bit of furniture out of the way. He buried his now numb fingers back in her hair, smashing her lips back to his.
She had her hands under his shirt, his coat still on, her fingers rippling under at least three layers of clothing that she simply wanted to rip off. She settled for peeling it back impatiently, yanking at his leather duster, tugging insistently at the dressy black buttoned shirt, her hands shaking too much to handle the buttons. He sat up and pulled it over his head, taking the undershirt with it, leaving him topless on the floor of the living room, being straddled by the Slayer. Her hands were on the hem of her tank top before he could even manage to process what was going on, and she was as naked as him before he could stop her.
She pulled his hands to her breasts, his cool skin soothing on her overheated flesh, flushed from a night of slaying and making out in random enclaves that they found along the way on their desperate trek back to the apartment. A moan escaped her lips and he closed his eyes at the sound, reverberating through him as if the noise itself had travelled through his blood straight to his crotch.
"Please, Spike," he didn't have to ask what she wanted.
He wrapped his hands around her back, marveling as ever at just how tiny she was when both of his palms were enough to cover her back from side to side. He rolled them over and they hit the TV stand, sending the boxy analog TV toppling with a thud to the ground. Probably knocked loose a tube. Nothing he couldn't fix. But later. Much later. Not now. Now was time to worship at the altar of Buffy.
He tugged at the button on her pants, and she tugged at his, both so ineffectual in their need that they stopped, smiling sheepishly at each other, and giggled. They pulled away for a moment, quickly ridding themselves of their remaining clothing. And there they were, lying on the ground in her half-trashed apartment, gaping at one another. She pressed herself to him, loving the feel of his skin on her, loving the feel of another person so near—it had been so long. Nobody had been here in ages. Ok, fine. Nobody had been here for the whole week Spike was gone. But she had felt totally cut off. God, how she had forgotten what it was she was so lonely for.
The way she clutched at him told him everything he needed to know without words. The look on her face said that if he didn't get inside her this instant he was going to suffer her wrath. She took hold of his cock and he closed his eyes at her touch. If he wasn't already dead he would've thought he was going to die.
She guided him home. Her hot little cunt gripped at him just as desperately as the rest of her had all night, and he knew then—knew—that he would die again. A double death. She was still as unbelievable as ever. He pulled back and thrust hard, deep into her, hitting that spot that he knew so well. "Oh," she breathed.
She tried to roll him, tried to get on top, but he'd have none of it and they got tangled up in their limbs, banging into a bookshelf loaded with tomes that were apparently on loan from Faith, as they looked like things that only Giles would have. He wondered if she even cracked them, or if they were only there to crack him in the skull when they fell off the shelf.
"Shut up. Harder. Oh—"
She clutched at him and he sat up, pulling her with him to press desperately against her clit with every deep smashing thrust. His lips trailed in the curve of her neck, leaving butterfly kisses that nearly sent her over the edge in a powerful way that direct stimulation never could. She felt the flat of his teeth scraping against her skin and clenched around him. He bit down, so hard that he nearly broke the skin before he caught himself, moaning against her body.
"Oh, Christ," he said, pulling back from her and rubbing his thumb along the bite mark. "Oh, Christ, Buffy!"
Neither of them was going to last as long as they wanted to. They felt as if they hadn't been around anyone real in years. Funny, how days seemed to grow unbearably long under certain circumstances. And yet when they were in each other's presence everything else seemed to fade away. Like the fact that everything in the living room was now completely destroyed.
She pulled his head to hers, lips swollen and nipped, and he felt as if she were setting him on fire everywhere that she touched. He had never thought combustion would be such a brilliant way to go until then—and he ought to know, hadn't he? She mashed her lips to his, mutually bruising, tongues thrusting. She crashed down against him one more time, clenching her muscles so tightly that he thought she would drag the soul out of him through his cock as he exploded into her, fumbling desperately for her clit to send her with him.
When he came back to himself he was on his back, Buffy still astride him, her eyes soft and searching and memorizing every single line of his face. She ran a finger across his brow, down his cheek, tracing across his chin. "You never change."
"It’s only been a week, love,” he said, amused.
“I know. But... you look just exactly the same as... as all that time ago.”
“That's part of the deal."
She leaned down, her warmth nearly unbearable as she covered him with her body, resting her forehead against his with a harder than necessary clunk that rattled his teeth. She took a deep steadying breath and let it out with a sigh, sliding her face down his, as if trying to memorize his face using the tip of her nose. She eventually just gave up and sprawled on him in a boneless heap. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close, trying not to show he knew that she was crying.
"Hey, now," he finally said. "Nothing to cry about." He sat up on his elbows and she sat back on his knees, face in hands.
"Sorry," she was wiping hastily at her cheeks.
He grabbed her wrists and tugged her arms down into her lap. She closed her eyes, trying to hide behind her hair. He brushed it behind her ear and pulled her chin up, her eyes opening and locking on his. "What's all this? And don’t launch yourself at me and think you can get out of talking. What the hell’s been going on around here?”
She glared at him, apparently trying to collect her thoughts. “It’s just... it’s stupid. I missed you so much. And things have been getting all weird around here. And...” she looked at him, waiting for him to do that thing he did. That thing where he tore down all the defensive walls she had built up that she didn’t have any idea how to get back through. He always knew just what to say, just what to do—he knew her better than she knew herself and that was what had always disarmed her about him—made her so defensive. That was what she relied on now. He was the only one she could turn to. She had known that for a long time, but it was strange to have had him gone so long. Particularly in the middle of all the flux and surges in the paranormal going on.
He took her wrists in his hands and pulled until she had her fingers splayed across his chest. The soft indulgent perfectly understanding little smile he had on his face was almost enough to bring tears to her eyes again. But it was more than enough to get a mirrored smile exactly like his on her face.
“Are you home now? For good?”
“Am I ever?”
She closed her eyes and nodded, taking a breath and pulling her hands back to wipe her cheeks dry.
“Hey, I’ve got demon stink. Not the nicest perfume, huh?”
“Doesn’t bother me, pet.”
“Well, it bothers me. I’ve got to smell it. I’m gonna hop in the shower, love,” she shot coyly over her shoulder as she stood up, not even bothering to pick up her clothes. She gave a mighty stretch that Spike figured was entirely for his benefit before she sauntered off to the bathroom and shut the door behind her.
Spike stood up and pulled his jeans back on, surveying the damage they had done to the furniture. He gave a little puff of laughter through his nose and rifled through the pockets of his duster for his cigarettes. He pulled one out and lit it up, thinking back through everything he’d done the past week or so, taking a long drag and letting it calm his nerves before exhaling slowly and giving the telly a jab with his toe.
“Huh,” he said, walking in to the bedroom and flopping down on the bed, grabbing the remote from where it was buried under Buffy’s various knickknacks and switching on the tiny old television set on the dresser.
His brow furrowed, watching all the terror, murder, and mayhem flash by in two minute snatches on the screen. There was just something so terribly... so terribly... familiar about it all. Something...
He heard the water turn off and heard her breathing in the steamy air, rustling about, the soft whisper of the towel as she pulled it off the towel bar and rubbed it along her skin. Sometimes he couldn’t decide if the preternatural hearing was a blessing or a curse. He shifted around, trying to get comfortable.
The door opened and she stepped out in a swirl of mist.
“Did you see this on the telly, pet?”
“Hm? Don’t smoke in the bed. You’ll burn down the building.” She was fluffing at her wet hair with a towel and wearing nothing at all.
He shifted to snuff out the cigarette in the ashtray she kept on the night table, his eyes lustful, his tongue curled around his teeth. She stopped when he didn’t reply. “Spike?” she saw the look on his face and smiled. The smile still made his heart skip a beat. “What’s on the T.V.?”
“Oh, some big explosion in Tucson.”
“Yeah?” she crooked a foot under her as she sat on the edge of the bed and slapped her hair around like a dog shaking out its fur, spattering cold drops on his torso. She did that on purpose. “That matters how?”
“Dunno. Seems weird though, dunnit?”
“Things blow up all the time, Spike. And it doesn’t seem like a Slayer’s style to just blow up a random corporate headquarters.”
“Maybe it was Faith.”
“Faith’s in London,” she said, shooting him a look of deep exasperation.
“I dunno, Buffy,” his tone clearly indicating that he no long gave a damn. His hand trailed toward her of its own accord, his fingertip trailing along the outside of her thigh. He was completely distracted by now, not even caring that he had completely lost whatever train of thought had steamed through his head when the story had come up on the news. Her eyes closed, her hands dropped to her lap, the towel dropping in a sodden heap to the floor.
She leaned over, dropping a kiss along his ribs, nuzzling her nose against his bones. She slid up the bed, dropping her head into the crook of his shoulder, his arm going around her to hold her close to him, as if trying to meld her body to his just from the sheer force of muscle alone. She drew a deep breath and let it out in a sigh.
"I always miss you, pet. Miss you when you're gone for five minutes." Her fingers were playing along his chest, idly tracing random little patterns.
"So," she said, strumming her fingernails against his skin. "Did you get what you went for?"
"Beat some information out of a couple of demons. Nothing we didn't know already. Hotspots are getting hotter, demons are gathering, vampires are out in the open, blah blah blah. They say it's worse where they were already in the open. New York, Seattle, New Orleans—New Orleans especially. Hell, pet, L.A. had vampires out in broad moonlight before I left. And that was long enough ago that it's probably a hot bed now."
"I thought it always was. Seat of seedy evil and all that. Second in Southern California only to sunny Sunnydale—god, say that three times fast."
He shrugged it off, his fingers tracing almost exactly the same little patterns along her shoulder that she had traced across his chest. He placed a kiss against her forehead, his lips soft and tender against her skin. She hoisted herself up on one elbow gazing down at him with such sparkling warm eyes that he almost felt uncomfortable. It almost made him squirm. Almost. His chin went up, his lips reaching for hers as she crashed her mouth down against his. He found himself divested of his jeans, nude again like her, and he had no idea how it happened. She nipped at his ear, her lips trailing to the tender skin behind his earlobe, teeth scraping down his throat and drawing a growl. She threw her leg across his thighs, straddling him, rubbing her slick entrance against his shaft. He moaned, sitting up on his elbows to bury his nose against her shoulder. He wrapped an arm around her waist, pressing her torso against his. Her hands went to his face, the pads of her fingers pressing insistently against his skull. He sat up completely then, trying to pull her in for a desperate kiss. She resisted, pulling back slightly to grab his cock and lower herself languorously down on him. He drew in a breath and blew it out threw his nose, simply trying to regain some sense of composure.
"Spike," she breathed his name and he captured her lower lip between his teeth as he lifted her hips and ground her down against him. She groaned and shifted around, folding her knees so that she could gain leverage and pump herself along his length. She made a noise that was a cross between a groan and a purr that went straight to his groin. He surged into her with a feral growl, plunging his tongue into her mouth in tandem with every deep thrust into her nethers.
She had to pull away from the kiss to breathe. "Oh, Spike," his fingers dug into her waist hard enough to leave bruises. He buried a hand in her hair, crashing her mouth back against his. "Spike!" she cried, having to pull away again for air. "Don't—" he nipped behind her ear like she had done to him earlier."Uhn, please. Yes, pleeease. Harder, Spike—"
"Any harder we'll break the bed."
She didn't leave it up to him, she grabbed his hips, grinding him against her clit with every vicious downward thrust until she was crying out his name. "Ah, Spike!" she came, his name barely more than a scream and her nails drawing blood from his hips, her walls squeezing him so tightly that he lost the small semblance of composure he'd been hanging onto, his blunt teeth sinking deeply into the meat of her shoulder, drawing blood. He felt his self-control slip.
"Ah!" she cried, shoving a hand into his chest and slamming his dazed vamp-faced head back down on the pillow. "No to the bumpies." His face slid back to its human incarnation, eyes closed and face full of lusty satisfaction.
"Buffy," he whispered. "Love you so much."
She moved off of him, sighing as he slid out of her, running the warm skin of her breasts up his torso to rest her head in the crook of his other shoulder, her fingers trailing idle little patterns along his pecs again. She dropped a soft kiss in the hollow of his shoulder.
"Missed you," she said for the millionth time that night.
"I always miss you."
"I never get tired of hearing that."
"I love you."
He felt her smile without having to see it as she gave him an affectionate squeeze. “That either.”
“Sleep love. You’ve got work in the morning and it’s nearly 2 now.”
“Oh, shit!” she said, sitting up straight. “I have to be at work at 6!”
He quirked an eyebrow and Buffy studied the curve of it. She reached out to run her thumb along his brow and his tongue curled around his teeth in that way that inevitably spelled dirty dealings.
“Need some help relaxing love?”
“Haven’t you relaxed me enough for one hour?” she chuckled.
“You look awfully tense.”
He smirked, she smirked, and he pulled her back down, head on the pillows as he set to work petting her muscles into a puddle of sleeping ooze. He loved it when she slept. Loved to just lie around and watch her breathe, feel the blood pounding through her veins, feel the heat of her against him. He soothed her bad dreams and rubbed away her tension, kept her sleeping as if he were keeping her head above water in the ocean. And when the horizon began to brighten and the sun began to peek through the cracks in the curtains he roused her, feeling as if the few short hours since he’d returned were nothing compared to the ones he was about to spend without her. When she’d left for work with a quick peck on the top of his head and some frazzled juggling of grabbing her purse, locking her door, and trying to tie the apron strings of her uniform at the same time, he decided maybe it was time to get in touch with a few of his more savory (and unsavory) local contacts. He dressed, headed for the building's basement and pulled open the sewer access door with a vicious yank, dropping himself down into the muck.