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Breathless

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Night had long since fallen, bringing with it the twinkling lights that lined the city streets that only added to the sultry allure of the cover of darkness. Sitting in her car, Buffy Summers pulled down the visor mirror and carefully applied a coating of her favorite strawberry lip gloss and fluffed her hair before exiting the vehicle. She hadn’t planned on going out that night, but her friends had managed to break down her resolve and get her out of the house for a night out. Doing so hadn’t taken much arm twisting, since her dear friend, Cordelia, was right around a million months pregnant and could go in to labor at any moment and had resorted to guilt in order to get Buffy to come out with her and her husband, Angel, claiming that once the baby came they wouldn’t be able to hang out for a while. Being a good friend and, if one was being totally honest, a complete pushover, Buffy had relented and gave up a night of old movies and ice cream in favor of karaoke.

While it was a bit strange that Buffy was such good friends with the couple, being that she and Angel had dated throughout high school and Cordelia had definitely not been a member of the I Heart Buffy fan club back then, they had managed to defy the odds and forge a friendship in spite of the dismal odds of doing so. It had been years since she had thought of Angel in any capacity other than a friend, and honestly thought Cordelia was the perfect match for him and that it was a shame they hadn’t gotten together sooner than they did.

Buffy checked to make sure her car doors were locked and stood awkwardly in the parking lot, while scanning the area to see if their car was already there. There were few things she hated more than going into social settings alone, often feeling as though she stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb when she took a seat at a table all by her lonesome. Not seeing Angel’s sleek black sedan, Buffy sighed and wondered why she hadn’t accepted a ride with them like they offered. She locked the car door and walked towards Caritas, the latest hip spot in town. As she neared the long line, she smiled with relief when she heard a familiar voice calling her name loudly. Standing on her tippy toes, she spotted Cordelia waving at her over the crowd at the front door. Buffy hustled over and slipped past the long line, offering a small smile of condolences at the other people who were stuck outside waiting to get inside, and allowed Cordelia to yank her in to the darkened establishment.

“It’s about time you showed up!” Cordelia announced loudly, as she somehow managed to squeeze her very pregnant belly around other patrons. “I told Angel we should have picked you up anyway. I figured you were bailing on us.”

“I know, it’s my bad. Clothes kept coming out of the closet, yet not seeming to form an actual outfit! Go figure. And might I add, whoa! When did you swallow a bus?” Buffy asked as she gingerly petted her friend’s swollen belly. She felt a bang of jealousy at the sight of Cordelia, who despite being intensely pregnant managed to look radiant and fashionable.

“Ugh. I know, right? Look at me! I keep asking this little devil to hurry up, but all I get is a swift kick to the bladder. All I can say is the day can’t get here fast enough! Now, come on inside so I can get you settled at the table with Angel and make yet another trip back to the bathroom.” Cordelia sighed with frustration and grimaced as she placed a hand beneath her belly. “I swear I go every five minutes these days.”

Trailing behind Cordelia, Buffy followed her waddling friend to the dim back corner of the club, where Angel sat in a candlelit booth with a striking man wearing a shocking green suit, or maybe that specific color of Day-Glo was referred to as chartreuse? Upon their arrival, she was introduced to the mystery man as she slid into the booth, and learned that he was the owner of the club and a personal friend of Angel’s.

While Cordy waddled away to take care of business, Angel set forth in ordering a round of drinks, cranberry juice for Cordelia, and a bottle of wine for himself and Buffy. Lorne requested something called a Sea Breeze, but announced that he had to make sure a certain bartender made it because the other one didn’t know a Sea Breeze from a Cape Cod and took off in the direction of the bar. Buffy just shook her head, both out of amusement and confusion since she had no idea what either drink consisted of.

“So, Buff,” Angel began, the rotating crystal ball hanging high above them caused his dark eyes to sparkle. “Tonight’s open mic night. Think we could coerce you to sing for us?”

“Oh, um, I am very much thinking no. Not really feeling the singing thing tonight.” She protested, shrugging out of her jacket and getting comfortable. The plush crushed velvet that covered the booth was soft enough against the backs of her bare arms that Buffy momentarily considered having her couch reupholstered in the material, but decided that maybe that specific look was reserved for dance clubs and retirement homes.

“What’s this I hear?” Lorne exclaimed loudly, as he returned with a pinkish-orange drink in his hand. “Do we have a song bird in the midst? Please tell me that this gorgeous gumdrop here can sing as good as she looks!”

Buffy started to protest once more, but Cordy returned and proceeded to inform Lorne that Buffy was in fact a fantastic vocalist but usually needed a great deal of wine to get up the courage to get on stage. Lorne laughingly pushed the wine glass closer to Buffy and exclaimed that it was in fact convenient since he knew the owner of the bar, and that a steady flow of liquor could be arranged. Buffy took the glass, muttering thanks and said politely that she would consider making a performance.

After several drinks and lots of conversation, Lorne somehow managed to get Buffy to agree to sing. As usual, she was nervous and excited all at the same time and butterflies erupted in her stomach as she climbed the stairs to the stage. Life had been too busy as of late and hadn’t permitted Buffy too much free time to indulge in her one and only passion, and thus, it had been a long time since she had been on stage. While she loved singing, she was generally plagued with a horrible case of stage fright and often shied away from doing anything that would put her in the spotlight. Sipping gingerly on her water, having given up on the alcohol since she now had to support herself and sing in front of what had turned into a very large gathering, she flipped through the enormous book containing hundreds of song options. Taking a deep breath, Buffy pointed to the song she wanted and perched herself on the edge of the bar stool on stage.

The music began and she closed her eyes, blocking out the sight of the packed house so that the next step came to her like second nature. The Faith Hill song she’d picked out was an old favorite and once she began her nerves soon began to melt away. “I can feel the magic floating in the air…Being with you gets me that way…I watch the sunlight dance across your face and I’ve…Never been this swept away.”

Once the first verse was sang, the butterflies in her stomach began to disperse and the spark of confidence that followed had Buffy opening her eyes to face the crowd. “All my thoughts just seem to settle on the breeze…When I’m lying wrapped up in your arms...The whole world just fades away…The only thing I hear…Is the beating of your heart.”

“Cause I can feel you breathe…It’s washing over me…Suddenly I’m melting in to you…There’s nothing left to prove…Baby, all we need is to just be…Caught up in the touch…The slow and steady rush…Baby, isn’t that the way love’s supposed to be…I can feel you breathe…Just breathe.” The pulsating lights overhead swam over her skin and caressed her with its warm glow. Everything around her seemed to fade away until there was nothing but herself, the microphone and the stage, and in that moment in time, everything was perfect. “In a way I know my heart is waking up…As all the walls come tumbling down…I’m closer than I’ve ever felt before…And I know…And you know…There’s no need for words right now.”

Buffy tapped her fingers on the microphone with the beat of the music; swaying side to side ever so slightly. “Cause I can feel you breathe…It’s washing over me…Suddenly I’m melting in to you…There’s nothing left to prove…Baby, all we need is just to be…Caught up in the touch…The slow and steady rush…Baby, isn’t that the way that love’s supposed to be? I can feel you breathe…Just breathe.” She took a quick breath, before singing through the chorus once more. As the last bit of the song slipped past her lips, Buffy closed her eyes and poured her heart and soul in to them. “I can feel the magic floating in the air…Being with you gets me that way.”

The final words barely a whisper as the song faded away and Buffy was left with only a deafening silence. Tentatively, she opened her eyes and looked out into the crowd, afraid of what she might see. After what seemed like a lifetime, but was more likely only a few seconds, the entire room broke into a loud applause; and amazingly, even a few glistening eyes. Elated and relieved, Buffy replied with a luminous smile and graciously said thank you, before flying off the stage; anxious to get back to her seat out of the limelight. As she neared their booth, Buffy was stopped in her tracks as Lorne jumped up and gathered her into his arms for a nearly bone crushing hug; causing Buffy’s face to smoosh against the sunburst yellow tie that accompanied his vivid green suit. After a nearly embarrassing amount of time to be hugged by someone she had just met, Buffy was relieved when Lorne finally unwrapped himself from around her and ushered her in to the booth.

“Angelkins! Honey, you were not lying when you said this little breath of fresh air could really belt one out!” Lorne exclaimed loudly as he pushed Buffy in the booth next to Cordelia before squeezing himself in after her. He turned to face Buffy and gushed, “Gumdrop, THAT was amazing! Your voice is like spun sugar, I wanted to eat you up while you were singing! Please tell me you are aching to sing professionally!?”

Buffy stared at him with dumbfounded shock etched across her face and shook her head slowly from side to side, while Cordy and Angel simply smiled like the cats that ate the proverbial canaries. Seeing the matching expressions on her friend’s faces, Buffy cocked her eyebrow and asked, “What are you guys up to?”

“Well, pudding pop, it just so happens that by day I happen to scout out musical talent and I have a new band in dire need of a lead singer and I think you’re sweet self is just the ticket!” Grinning ear to ear, Lorne continued, “So, what do you think about that?”

Chapter Text

Over the next few weeks, Lorne was relentless in his pursuit of Buffy and her angelic voice. After several weeks of countless phone calls and emails, Buffy finally caved and agreed to at least meet him at his downtown office to discuss his offer. Figuring she would just meet with Lorne, Buffy sat nervously on a sleek black leather couch in the office waiting room and mentally went over the speech she’d concocted on the drive over. While she was very flattered that Lorne had even considered her for the job, much less pursued her to the point of stalking, but she had a job that she loved very much! Sure, being a high school guidance counselor wasn’t nearly as glamorous or exciting as being the lead singer in a band, but it was a job she treasured and had worked hard to get.

Chewing on her fingernail, a habit she both abhorred and craved, Buffy fidgeted nervously in the waiting room. Amazingly enough she was not only on time for the meeting, but actually a good bit early; something that she rarely was able to accomplish. Somehow even setting all the clocks ahead in her house by a minimum of ten minutes didn’t help get her ready and out of the house with time to spare on most days. This morning had been the amazing exception, having been dressed and in the car a full half hour before she was supposed to have left the house. Dressed conservatively in a black knee length skirt and pale pink scoop neck blouse, she’d hit all the red lights as they turned green, found a parking spot that didn’t charge an arm and a leg by the minute, and had even managed not to spill coffee anywhere on her clothes during the drive. It was almost a sign from above that things were supposed to work out that way; if one believed in things like that.

Ten minutes later and Buffy was still waiting as patiently as one could when their nerves were on end. While she knew that she’d shown up entirely too early, so early in fact that the receptionist had only walked in herself, Buffy was eager to get things over and done with so she finally calm down. Just as she was about to announce to the brunette who was hard at work talking in to a headset and typing furiously, her red tipped nails clicking loudly on each key, the door to Lorne’s office opened and out he came in a flash of plum purple.

“Sugarplum! You look stunning!” Lorne gushed, pulling her into his arms for a hug, “I just cannot tell you just how tickled I am that you finally agreed to come in today! There isn’t a doubt in my mind that you are a perfect fit for this.” Releasing Buffy, Lorne ushered her into his office, a massive room filled with black leather and chrome furniture with various pieces of brightly colored artwork splashed on the walls. Realizing no one else was in the room waiting to ambush her, Buffy allowed herself to release the breath of tension she’d been holding in since Lorne had come in to the lobby.

“Um, thanks for asking me to do this, Lorne. It’s all very flattering, but this isn’t going to work out. I only came in today to tell you in person that I am still declining your offer.” Buffy managed to spit out, throwing her previously planned eloquent speech out the door.

“Nonsense! I know a star when I see one, and Snickerdoodle, you are going to be the brightest star. I just know it!” Lorne announced confidently as he pulled Buffy towards the set of double doors across the room, despite her objections. “Of course, first things first, you need to meet your new band mates!”

Lorne went in first, thankfully, and Buffy gingerly poked her head around his broad shoulder to glance at the other people in the room. There was a very striking brunette female perched on top of a table and two attractive males sitting across from her on another leather couch. The guys immediately stood up when they noticed Buffy behind their manager; however the female smirked and stayed rooted on the desk. Her lean legs were encased in very tight black leather pants, a pair of scuffed motorcycle boots, with what Buffy could only describe as a handkerchief instead of a shirt to complete the ensemble. Her dark locks reminded Buffy of ‘sex hair’ and her makeup was dark around the eyes with garnet lipstick on her pouty lips. She was the embodiment of trashy hot and thus, the complete opposite of Buffy. Based on her appearance, Buffy imagined that the girl had plenty of experience on top of all sorts of furniture, and then promptly chastised herself for being so judgmental.

Lorne introduced the guys first, motioning towards the shorter of the two who preferred to go by Oz, whom Buffy learned was previously the guitarist for the band Dingoes Ate My Baby until they disbanded a year earlier due to artistic conflicts. The taller dark headed guy’s name was Xander, short for Alexander, and he played the drums. He was also previously in a band called Nighthawk with Faith, the girl on the desk, who played the bass guitar. Realizing that she was the only one that hadn’t previously been in a band, Buffy felt a wave of insecurity was over her, which only added to her nervousness.

Finally, she was properly introduced to Faith, who immediately looked at Lorne with a look of disbelief and announced, “She’s the new lead singer?! What the hell is Miss Golden Girl gonna sing? The Good Ship Lollipop? This is ridiculous, Lorne, she looks like a cheerleader!”

“Cheerleaders are good.” Xander chipped in. “Very good, in fact.” Xander’s comment was followed by a great deal of vigorous smiling and nodding from Oz’s direction. “ZanMan tells no lies.” Oz added with shrug. However, both of them zipped their mouth when given the stink eye by Faith.

Faith’s obvious dislike for Buffy had her seething. Who the heck did Super Skank think she was? Just because she didn’t dress like a hooker or someone who should be riding on the back of a motorcycle didn’t have a damn thing to do with her ability to sing. Glaring at Faith, her eyes flashed with annoyance as she spoke. “Yes, actually I was a cheerleader in high school, but that has nothing to do with what I can and cannot do now, thank you very much, Trailer Trash Barbie.” Buffy replied tartly; forcing her face to not reflect the shock she felt on the inside as she heard her own response. Fired up, Buffy turned to Lorne and announced, “I’m ready for my try out now.”

The next two months passed with a speed that had Buffy’s head spinning. Between working her day job at Hemery High School and practicing at night with the band, which had finally settled on the name Serenity, she was burning the candle at both ends. Each night she came home late, well past her pre-band bedtime of nine thirty, quickly showered and fell into bed completely limp with exhaustion. Truth be told, although she was loving every minute of her new lifestyle, Buffy wondered just how long her body was going to be able to handle this strenuous schedule before she collapsed.

Idly humming along with the song playing on the radio, Buffy enjoyed the not so busy Saturday as she patiently waited in traffic on her way to the studio. Since it was the weekend, her band members had thankfully decided on a short afternoon practice, instead of the five to six hour practices they’d been churning out lately. So, after a whopping ten hours of sleep and treating herself to a pedicure and manicure, Buffy felt like a new woman.

Eventually, traffic opened up enough that she was able to maneuver her way thru the web of cars and make it the final couple of blocks to her destination. Groaning when she noticed that everyone else was there waiting on her, Buffy jumped out of her secondhand Jeep Cherokee and sprinted up the stairs. When she entered the studio, Buffy was greeted with a scattering of hellos and a hug from Lorne, as per usual, before being quickly ushered to the couch; where she took a seat by Xander.

Ever the Drama Queen, Lorne announced he had fantastic news and then took a moment, pausing for dramatic flair, before telling them that Serenity had been booked to play the following weekend at the Bronze, a local club that was known for its variety of bands that played there weekly. After the group calmed down, he went on to explain that there was a cancellation of the opening band, which was usually a local up and coming group. After that Lorne rambled on for a bit about how they ended up getting the gig, but Buffy zoned out since she was far too excited about their first ever performance to concentrate.

Eventually, they managed to calm down and get organized; quickly setting forth figuring out which songs they should play and in what order. Since the opening bands were only allowed only three songs they had to be very selective of which ones they wanted. Of course, since Oz and Faith were their creative team, churning out song after song until the early hours of the morning, the ones that were picked had no significant meaning to Buffy and therefor, she had no attachment to any of them and didn’t care which ones were chosen. While she wrote her own songs in secret, and had several tucked away in her diary already, she had as of yet to grow a spine and show them to her band mates.

Although band practice had originally intended to last until six that evening, the introduction of their first gig together spurred them on until the wee hours of the morning yet again; causing Buffy to pull in to her driveway shortly after three in the morning. Bleary eyed and exhausted, she’d stumbled up the stairs to her bedroom and went straight to bed; hoping to get a few hours of sleep before she had to meet her best friends from college for brunch.

The next morning after a measly five hours of sleep, Buffy rolled out of her comfy bed stumbled in to the bathroom to step in to a scalding hot shower in hopes of waking herself up. Plans were to meet at the diner next to Willow and Tara’s bookshop in Venice, so Buffy had to hurry up so she wouldn’t be late and prayed traffic wouldn’t be too horrible. It didn’t matter that her best friends were more than aware of her issues in the punctuality department since they had known one another since college, that didn’t mean that Buffy didn’t at least try to be on time to meet them. Once out of the shower, she pulled her long blonde locks in to a messy bun, added a touch of mascara and lip gloss to an otherwise naked face and threw on a tank top with a pair of jeans so worn they were velvety soft. After locating the pair of sandals that had somehow managed to wind up in the laundry basket, Buffy was out the door and on her way to Venice Beach.

Willow was just sitting down at their usual table by the window, overlooking the sandy beach and grayish blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, when Buffy arrived. Having been Buffy’s best friend since their first day of freshman year when they’d ended up living together, Willow already knew to order Buffy a double mocha latte when she ordered her own. Buffy slid into her chair just as Tara entered the shop and joined them. Buffy sighed wistfully as she watched the two greet one another with a soft kiss, their faces alight with happiness. She wished that one day she could find someone that made her as happy as the two of them were….in a male package, of course!

Chapter Text

The next week passed quickly and with its official end, Buffy’s nerves tripled and the butterflies in her stomach grew to the size of condors. The night of their first performance together was finally upon them and Buffy had long since resorted to pacing nervously in the dressing room, torn between the ideas of passing out, puking or bailing altogether. On what had to be her one hundredth rotation around the small and dimly lit dressing room, Buffy caught sight of herself in the cracked mirror that hung on the back of the door.

Momentarily pausing her anxious pacing, Buffy glanced at herself in the mirror one final time and still didn’t recognize the reflection staring back at her. Somehow Faith had managed to make her look like a wanton sex goddess instead of her boring old self. According to Faith, the normal ‘Goody Two-Shoes’ Buffy had no place on the stage at the Bronze, or in the music business at all, and had promptly dragged her to the mall to rectify the atrocity known as her personal wardrobe.

While the entire shopping excursion had been a painful experience for the both of them, both she and Faith had somehow managed to not only survive, but locate what Faith had declared the ‘prefect outfit’. Never in a million years would she have ever chosen the outfit she was currently wearing, but being the forever pushover that she was, Buffy had relented and purchased the ensemble. Although there would never be an occasion for her to wear it outside of a band performance, Buffy had to admit that the black vinyl pants and slinky red halter top fit her figure so well that they appeared to have been tailored specifically for her body. She teetered slightly on the ridiculously tall black spiked heels as she angled herself in the mirror to check out each angle and decided that the outfit, combined with her teased blonde locks and smoky eyeshadow, passed the test. While she looked nothing like her normal self, Buffy decided that it was nice to be able to hide behind the new persona; although that thought didn’t do a thing to help calm her nerves. In the reflection of the mirror, she spied the bottle of tequila that Lorne had brought by earlier and smiled.

Nerves? That’s nothing a few shots of high dollar tequila couldn’t take care of.

Slightly buzzed, but with significantly less rattled nerves, Buffy stood off to the side of the stage and peeked around the curtain to peer in to the crowd; mesmerized by the swarm of bodies. The sound of the announcers deep voice calling their name caught her attention and Buffy turned to fall in line behind Oz as they made their way up on to the stage, all the while saying a silent prayer that everything run smoothly. ‘God, I’m gonna throw up’ She thought as she took her place behind the microphone and stared out in to the sea of bodies.

Buffy said one final prayer to the music gods, requesting that she remembered the words to the song and that the band kicked ass, while the rest of the members too their places. Once she received the signal from Xander that it was time to start, Buffy counted off to the beat of the music until it was time for her to start singing the lyrics to the song Faith had written only the week before. “Perfect by nature…Icons of self-indulgence…Just what we all need…More lies about a world that…Never was and never will be…Have you no shame? Don’t you see me? You know you’ve got everybody fooled.”

By the time they wrapped up the first song, and was greeted with a thundering applause of approval from the crowd, Buffy fell easily in to the groove. Her nerves melted away and she belted out the final two songs without a hitch; loving every minute of being on stage.

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Spike stood in the shadows of the balcony, staring out into the crowd below. Frankly, he was quite bored, but it was his job to be there since he was in charge of security for the final band. Being up in the balcony made it easier to see what was going on, therefore simpler to inform his coworkers down below what was going on. Luckily, their arrival had been late and he didn’t have to stand around to see the opening group as well. Rooting around in the pocket of his black duster, he produced a cigarette and lighter, needing a quick smoke to relax him. When he lit his cigarette and looked out into the crowd, that’s when he saw her. She was a golden goddess swaying to the music, her hands above her head, hips moving in perfect rhythm to the beat of the music. This woman was like a burst of sunlight in an otherwise dark existence. In an instant, he was entranced. Perky breasts, encased in a fragment of material, bounced with each move causing a certain part of his nether regions to feel uncomfortable in his black jeans. Discretely, he reached down and adjusted himself, silently wishing it was her delicate touch instead of his own. She spun around allowing him to catch a glimpse of a firm ass encased in slick black vinyl. His cock throbbed at the sight, demanding to be freed from its confines. He was captivated, unable to take his icy blue eyes away from his new discovery. Only when he saw another guy approach his beauty, was his concentration broken.

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Buffy and Faith had been dancing for most of the first set, downing several libations that were on the house for them tonight. Willow and Tara had joined in for a while, but had to leave early since they had to do inventory at their store in the morning. Angel had stopped by for a quick hello after their set, giving a congratulatory hug from Cordelia since she couldn’t be there. Apparently their son, Connor, was running a fever. Angel had wandered off afterwards, explaining that the other band had ran late and several of his employees had arrived with them and he was going to check in. He had recently taken over the security agency that his father had owned, prior to his death, called Angel Protection Agency.

Buffy was in the middle of telling Faith that she was going to take a break for a bit, when she was interrupted by someone. Turning around, she gasped, realizing that her interrupter was Riley Finn, one of the many up and coming actors in the area. Buffy knew he had been in a few hit films recently, although she hadn’t had the time to see all of the yet. She had to admit that he was cuter in person, but she hadn’t realized just how tall he was until he was next to her and towering over her. Shocked, and definitely flattered, when he asked her to dance, she felt engulfed in his massive arms. The oddly mismatched couple danced to several songs, never breaking apart despite Buffy’s attempts to leave. It was late and she was tired and achy, ready to go home. Buffy glanced around the dance floor and tried to get her friends attention; never noticing the man with the platinum hair gazing at her from the balcony.

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From his perch above the crowd, Spike sighed in relief when the premiere band finished their final set. He was knackered and ready to go home; and also well aware of a certain throbbing member that was still demanding his attention. Unfortunately, it would not be his golden goddess that would be milking him into a state of ecstasy tonight. His girlfriend, Drusilla would be eagerly awaiting his arrival since he had been gone for several weeks on tour with the band. He groaned in despair at the thought. Normally he was more than pleased to make love to his dark princess, with her long cascading black hair and pale smooth skin, but tonight he wanted someone else.

He wanted sunlight.

Chapter Text

A few days after meeting Riley at the show, Buffy was surprised to find a message from him on her phone asking if she was available for a date the following weekend. While she had enjoyed the short time they had spent together at the Bronze dancing and sipping drinks over idle chitchat, Buffy had often found herself growing bored with the conversation and wasn’t entirely certain that Riley Finn was a good fit for her. However, she ended up agreeing to meet him for dinner, which Buffy could tell ruffled his feathers by refusing to let him pick her up even though he didn’t come right out and say so.

 

Friday night rolled around and as usual she was running late, Buffy pulled in to the parking lot at Chadwynn’s, an upscale restaurant on Rodeo Drive, five minutes after she was supposed to meet Riley and grimaced at the sign declaring the spot to be valet only. Of course any restaurant in Beverly Hills would require paying to have your car parked and she felt mildly embarrassed about the condition of her Jeep Cherokee being in the midst of a sea of overpriced sedans and sports cars. Since she was technically running late, Buffy sucked it up and pulled up to the valet booth, slid out of her Jeep and handed over the keyring to the attendant and sighed at the thought of wasting that money simply to park a car.

 

Truth be told, the place was a touch too stuffy for her tastes, but Riley insisted on ‘going all out’ for their first date. She was definitely out of her element amidst the white table clothes, crystal glassware and five course settings, and would have been more comfortable at a pizza parlor with a pitcher of beer instead. Riley’s mood at first hadn’t helped soothe her nerves either. He had teetered on the edge of being miffed, not only because she was tardy, but because he seemed to continue to harbor a little resentment about her insistence that she drive herself, but his demeanor appeared to be improving as the night went on. Even though she shouldn’t have had to explain herself in regards to wanting to meet him at the restaurant, she had explained anyway in hopes that by doing so Riley’s mood would improve.

 

She’d had a steadfast rule to always drive herself on dates until she got to know the person she was going out with. This stemmed from a rather horrible incident her freshman year of college with Parker Abrams, who had turned out to be a downright bastard and left her stranded at a fraternity party. Walking home in heels and rain had made the night even more miserable. Since then she had learned her lesson and made sure to always have a ride home. It was easier and cheaper than having to risk walking home or paying for a cab to come to her rescue.

 

The meal was nearing an end, as was the plate of ooey-gooey chocolate dessert on her plate. Buffy moaned lightly as she savored the Dutch chocolate cheesecake that was downright sinful, while Riley rambled on about his upcoming movie. While Buffy had to admit she was actually having a good time, she was ready to call it a night because she was exhausted after a late band practice the night before and spending all day dealing with students as the end of the semester grew closer. She attempted to stifle a yawn and failed miserably, and blushed deeply while explaining why she was so tired. Conveniently, Riley agreed that it was time to end their date, since he had to be up early the next morning. He dutifully paid the check and escorted her out to her vehicle and stood by while the valet attendants located their vehicles. Once both of their cars had been fetched, they were faced with the skittish dance of ‘Do we kiss or do we hug’? After a few awkward moments, Buffy decided to bite the bullet and stood on the tips of her toes to brush a kiss across the cheek of her towering date and said a polite thank you before getting into her car. With a quick, yet coy flick of the wrist, she waved goodbye and pulled out of the parking lot.

 

While she had every intention of heading home, the small amount of wine in her system had her itching to stop at Caritas. The naughty side of Buffy influenced her to drive right past her turn-off for home and head for the bar; which caused her not so naughty side to berate her for lying to her perfectly nice date and ditching him early. The little bar seemed to be brimming with customers, which wasn’t unusual for a Friday night, but was annoying enough that she had a difficult time locating a parking spot. On her third trip through the lot, she spotted someone leaving at the rear of the lot and whipped her car in to their spot, grabbed her guitar that she had left in the back and headed for the door.

 

She rounded the corner of the club and inwardly groaned at the sight of the long line and faltered in her decision, but was saved by Lorne, who stepped outside at the exact moment she had decided to head home instead of waiting in that monstrosity of a line. She walked to the bar with Lorne, decked head to toe in a shimmery royal blue material, and happily accepted the Cosmopolitan he ordered for her. He handed over the bright pink drink, while apologizing for not being able to stay and chat once he realized that she was alone. With a sincere smile, Buffy reassured him that she was more than capable of holding down the bar stool on her own, but to make sure and squeeze her in for a song or two at some point during the night. He chuckled and promised that he would give her anything she wanted as long as she sang for it. Shaking her head, she handed him her guitar to keep up near the stage and settled herself onto the stool, while sipping on the tasty pink concoction.

 

About forty-five minutes and another Cosmo or two later, Lorne waved at her from beside the stage and announced that it was her turn. Buffy stood up, instantly feeling the effects of the alcoholic drink, and smoothed the front of her red halter dress before she made her way through the maze of tables to the stage. Perched on top of the stool, Buffy positioned the guitar and greeted the audience. “Um, hello…I thought I would try out a song that I have been working on for a couple of weeks. It’s called ‘Can’t Fight the Moonlight’. I hope you like it.” She fidgeted with her pick for a moment then started to play. “Under a lover’s sky…Gonna be with you…And no one’s gonna be around…If you think that you won’t fall…Well, just wait until…Til the sun goes down.”

 

“Underneath the starlight, starlight…There’s a magical feeling, so right…It’ll steal your heart tonight.” The stage lights were warm on her face as she moved in to the next verse of the song, and bright enough to hide the sea of faces staring up at her. “You can try to resist…Try to hide from my kiss…But you know, But you know…that you can’t fight the moonlight…No, you can’t fight it…It’s gonna get to your heart.” Buffy felt her frazzled nerves melt away as she settled in to the song and a smile lit up her face as she started in on the next verse. “There’s no escape from love…Once a gentle breeze…Weaves its spell upon your heart…No matter what you think…It won’t be too long…Til you’re in my arms.”

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Spike’s night had been utterly miserable. It started off as a long day at work and went into an explosive argument with his longtime girlfriend, Drusilla. The hour’s long argument had ended with Dru packing a bag and storming out of their apartment while he’d sank down on to the leather couch with a glass filled to the brim with whiskey. He had worked his way through at least a quarter of bottle of amber liquid, before he couldn’t take being in the apartment any longer; the four walls of the living room felt as though they were closing in on him and making it difficult to breathe. While he probably shouldn’t have been behind the wheel, especially that of his beloved DeSoto, Spike’s ability for rational thinking had long since flown out the window and he was on the road and halfway to the new bar down the street before he realized that driving probably wasn’t the best idea.

 

Once there, he saw that there was a line, but thankfully it moved fast enough that he didn’t have to stand outside for long. Spike crossed over the threshold into the club, dimly lit by the soft lights along the edges of the room and pointed at the stage, he immediately turned towards the bar, when the sultry sound of a woman singing stopped him in his tracks. Captivated, he made his way down the hallway towards the main room and stood in disbelief as he realized the source of the soulful sound. His golden goddess! Spike couldn’t believe that she was there, too. Of all the places that he could have gone tonight he had managed to end up at the same place as the woman he hadn’t stopped thinking about since he’d first seen her on stage the previous weekend. Spike ordered a beer and perched on a stool at the end of the bar, fascinated by the woman in front of him.

 

“You can try to resist…Try to hide from my kiss…But, you know…That you can’t fight the moonlight.” Mesmerized by the soulful, angelic depth of her voice, Spike’s beer sat untouched on the bar next to him. “Deep in the dark, you’ll surrender your heart…But you know, but you know…can’t fight the moonlight…No, you can’t fight it...No matter what you do…The night is gonna get you.”

 

“Don’t try then…You’re never gonna win…Underneath the starlight, starlight…There’s a magical feeling, so right…It will steal your heart tonight.” Spike didn’t know shit about magic or starlight, but staring at the blonde beauty perched on the stage, half hidden by the guitar strapped across her body, he was damn sure that she had, in fact, stolen his heart. “You can try to resist…Try to hide from my kiss…But you know, but you know…you can’t fight the moonlight…Deep in the dark…You’ll surrender your heart.”

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“You can try to resist…Try to hide from my kiss…But you know, but you know…you can’t fight the moonlight…Deep in the dark…You’ll surrender your heart.” As she finished up the last bit of the chorus, Buffy looked up from the microphone to quickly scan the audience since Lorne had harped at her earlier in the week for always keeping her eyes closed during a performance. It was at that moment that she locked eyes with the most alluring man she had ever seen. Dressed all in black with platinum blonde hair, he leaned against the bar with an air of authority, his gaze never lingering away from hers. Even from across the room, the intensity in his lustful gaze sent chills down her body and awakened a desire deep within that she hadn’t known was there. With a shaky breath, she finished the last verse of the song. "No, you can’t fight it…It’s gonna get to your heart.”

Buffy smiled when greeted with a thunderous applause of approval after she finished the song. Pleased that the new music appeared to be well liked, she offered a genuine thank you to the crowd and turned to put her guitar back inside its case. With the case in hand, Buffy hopped off the stage and was instantly ambushed by Lorne, whose face was lit with amazement and sparkling with a million watt smile.

 

“Honey, where on earth did that come from? I had absolutely no idea that you wrote your own stuff! Why didn’t you tell me?’ “He demanded with a nearly convincing pout of disappointment.

 

“I…I wasn’t sure of how well it would go over. I mean, it’s not the same kind of stuff the band performs.” she stammered, as Lorne ushered her towards the bar. Grinning brightly once they got to their destination, she added, “So what did you think?”

 

Lorne instantly launched into long tirade of how enamored he was with her and her work, old and new. He wrapped up his long winded appraisal with a request that Buffy start performing weekly on Open Mic night, where she could try out her new material. Elated, she quickly agreed and instantly started running through the piles of notebooks filled with songs she had been scribbling in for years. Unfortunately, by the time she was able to free herself from her lovable, but overzealous manager, Buffy didn’t see the sexy stranger at the bar. Deciding it was probably for the best, since she was quite tired and surely, no man that beautiful would be interested in her, Buffy leaned over the bar in search of the purse she had stored back there with the bartender, Harmony. Realizing that her arms were nowhere near long enough to reach her purse, Buffy made eye contact with Harmony and motioned that she was ready to leave.

 

She leaned her guitar case against the bar while she waited patiently for the very attractive, but not too intelligent, blonde bartender since the line was quite long. Parking her guitar against the stool, she leaned slightly over the edge of the bar to see if she could possibly reach the small black purse if she stretched. Giving up after a solid three attempts, Buffy eased herself back and bumped into someone. Since the bar area was cramped, Buffy was unable to turn around to apologize to the person behind her and ended up pressed against the stranger; unable to move.

 

“Why the rush to leave, luv? It’s well past midnight, so I know there’s no threat of turning into a pumpkin.” He whispered into her ear with a sensuous British accent; his breath was warm against her neck and tickled her ear. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a shock of blonde hair and a scarred eyebrow.

 

Buffy relaxed into the strong arms that held her in place and his scent flooded her senses, seduced her seducing her with the smell of leather, tobacco and an underlying note of something utterly male. She felt weak in the knees and a warm sensation burned low in her belly like fire. His head was near the nape of her neck, his breath was warm on her skin and caused a scattering of chill bumps to spread across her skin, despite the suddenly warmer atmosphere in the bar.

 

Never in the history of Buffy had a man caused her to feel the way she did at that moment; aflame with wanton sexual desire, dizzy and breathless with anticipation.

Chapter Text

Ever so slightly, Spike eased closer to her body and grazed her bare arms with his calloused hands; his palms roughened by years of working on cars and motorcycles. He felt her tremble and briefly wondered if it was from fright or arousal. Dipping his head down lower, he breathed into her ear, “Why the rush to leave, luv? It’s well past midnight, so I know there’s no threat of turning into a pumpkin.” Smirking, he felt her shiver in his arms and felt the chill bumps on her exposed skin; making him grateful that she had worn such a revealing dress. Her toned, tanned shoulders and bare neck had him yearning to lick, kiss or even bite the supple skin.

“I…I have to, um, get up early?” Buffy stammered, managing to turn her statement into a question as he turned her to face him. Overcrowding in the bar area left them with little space, which led to their bodies being pressed together, making it very obvious to Buffy what his intentions were. Somewhere deep in her conscience the same not so naughty voice that told her to go home after her date was now screaming at her that this was a bad situation. However, the molten burn low in her belly was sending different signals. Buffy attempted to ignore her inner hormone demons and shifted her stance; trying to put some distance between their bodies. Unfortunately, the desired effect didn’t occur. Apparently, her captor sensed what she was up to and tightened his grasp around her waist.

When she tried to pull away from his hold, he growled deep within his chest and pulled her closer, causing her breasts to be pressed tightly to his chest. “Right, pet, are you positive that you don’t have time for a drink?” He asked, lightly touching her chin to tip it upwards to gaze lustfully into her eyes. Even through his liquored haze, he had a fleeting thought that he could stare at her emerald eyes forever before it was rapidly replaced with a more perverse thought.

Buffy blushed deeply as he gazed into her eyes, his deep sapphire eyes were hypnotizing and she whimpered as the tingling sensation down below grew hotter. She blushed deeply at her reaction to him and felt her skin flush, no doubt turning a flaming shade of red. No man had ever made her feel this aroused, even in an actual sexual position. This man, however, a total stranger, currently had her so on edge with desire that she was unable to think straight. Her brain stem was obviously disconnected, because nothing came out when she opened her mouth to tell him that she had to leave and to let her go. She sighed and stammered…”O…ok.”

In a blur, Buffy found herself being bustled along into one of the cozy booths by the bar. Her platinum captor made his way towards the bar. Buffy was shocked he returned with her purse and guitar case thrown over his shoulder and drinks in his hands. Thankfully, the momentary separation had allowed blood flow back to Buffy’s brain, but it also allowed anxiety to rear its ugly head. She was plotting her escape when he slid into the booth. Scooting in closer, his denim covered leg pressed against her thigh and she was amazed that the small amount of contact sent her straight into a sexual overdrive. Her head swam, dizzy from the sudden rush of emotions and the alcohol that still lingered in her system. His head dipped towards her neck, his lips brushed against the shell of her ear. Buffy’s anxiety disappeared, and was replaced with pure unadulterated lust.

Within seconds, his hands were tangled in her hair, his sensuous lips devouring hers. One hand was lowered, moving slowly downwards from the nape of her neck, pausing ever so slightly to hover around her breast as if for a brief moment he was unsure of what to do. Recovering, he caressed the edge of her breast, his thumb gingerly massaging her nipple which sent shock waves of lust straight through her core. Buffy squirmed in her seat and ached to be closer to this intoxicating stranger. Unable to remain still any longer, she reached around his neck and pulled him closer. Not wanting any space between them, she edged herself closer to his lap lightly wrapping one leg across his muscular thigh.

Spike deepened his kiss, firmly embracing her luscious body in his arms. He was astonished that this little minx already had such a hold on him. Her hot touch sent ripples of desire throughout his body; want quickly becoming need. Parting their embrace momentarily, he growled. ”Bathroom. Now.”

Clutching her hand, Spike moved swiftly through the bar towards the bathrooms, entering the Women’s room. Simultaneously, he locked the door and pinned her against the cool metal; running his hands from her shoulders down her waist to cup her firm bottom and lift her into a heated kiss. Buffy moaned into his mouth and pushed herself against his groin. Desperately needing to feel his skin, Buffy slid her hands under the edge of his shirt and caressed his rippled abdomen, slick with a light sheen of sweat. He pulled her deeper into his embrace and slid his hand down around her firm thigh; she complied with his unsaid desire and lifted her leg, wrapping it ever so slightly around his waist. His hand was on the move again, upwards. Realizing his intent, she gasped into his mouth, breaking their kiss, and opened her eyes. She found he was already focused on her face, his icy blue eyes twinkling mischievously, when he found she wasn’t wearing any underwear.

“Lil’ minx,” Spike thought to himself. He could feel the heat from her sex, begging for attention. Tracing his finger around the edge of her heated center, he felt her body jerk and moisten with anticipation. Devilishly, he parted her delicate folds and slipped one finger inside her slick opening. She sighed into his mouth again and pushed herself against his hand, plunging his finger deeper inside her. He moved his mouth away from hers and peppered kisses down to her the base of her neck. He nipped and licked along her collarbone, down to her breast where he pushed down the top of her dress and pulled one pert nipple into his mouth. Sliding another finger inside her slick heat, Spike rubbed her swollen bud slowly until she was panting in ecstasy. His looked up at her face just in time to see that his goddess was on the brink of orgasm. At the sight of her lips parted and panting, he groaned; his cock throbbed, painfully, screaming to be freed. He eased his fingers from her and tore at his zipper, managing to set free his rigid member. Placing himself at her entrance, he was about to slide in when his cell phone rang.

“Bloody fucking Hell!” He muttered into her ear, fully intent on ignoring the interruption. However, the incessant ringing refused to desist and the moment, that glorious fucking bubble where only the two of them and their sexual appetite for one another, was shattered because his golden goddess was still in his arms with wide eyes. The ringing stopped, but only for a split second, before it started up again and the sound of the shrill ringtone seemed to jar her, because she wriggled out of his hold and started jerking her clothes back in to the correct position.

“Come on kitten, jus’ ignore the bloody phone and get back over ‘ere, hmm?” Spike cocked his eyebrow as he reached for her hand.

Buffy gaped at the beautiful man before her, completely shocked by her own behavior. Her senses were on overload, and the sharp sound of his cell phone still ringing was simply too much; like a siren screaming a warning at her to control herself. Buffy shook her head sharply from side to side, while making sure her dress was pulled back up before gathering up the shoes that she hadn’t realized had fallen off during their tryst. With her heeled sandals clutched against her chest, Buffy jerked open the bathroom door and darted away with tears in her eyes.

“Bollocks!” Spike hollered, hitting his fist against the closed door. Realizing he couldn’t chase after her with his dick hanging out of his pants, he quickly tucked himself back into his pants and started for the door, but was stopped by the sound of his phone ringing once more. Cursing, pulled the cell phone from his pocket and growled into the phone. “Bloody hell, this had better be fucking important.” He said rudely to the person on the other end, listening for a moment he sighed and finally said, “Yes, Dru, I’m on my way home, luv.”

Chapter Text

Bright and early the next morning, Buffy was rousted from a restless slumber by the shrill sound of her alarm clock screaming at her loudly. Groggily, she reached from beneath a pile of covers and slapped at the annoyance until the incessant noise came to an end. With a loud and very unladylike groan, Buffy poked her tousled head from its sanctuary beneath the pillow and studied the glowing numbers on the clock to check the time. She realized with a grimace that it had only been four hours since she had fallen into bed with tears streaming down her face.

Since her head was throbbing and her stomach was still churning from the alcohol she’d consumed, not to mention the shame that curdled in the pit of her belly, she decided that maybe a shower would make her feel a better. Pushing herself out of the bed, she staggered towards the bathroom while tugging at the zipper on her wrinkled red dress that apparently wanted to be worn all day because it was putting up quite the fight. With one last effort, Buffy tugged on the zipper and sighed with relief when she was finally free of the garment, which she left on the floor before stepping into a scalding hot shower. She stayed there, water pounding full force on her head and rolling down her back until it turned cold, alternating between washing and crying. She had never been so embarrassed and ashamed of her actions before. The way she had behaved with that man, a total stranger nonetheless, was completely uncharacteristic for Buffy; who was normally in possession of a normal head and a libido that didn’t fly off the wall so easily. The fact that she hadn’t even learned his name just added to the guilt that was eating away at her conscience.

As the water beat down on to her throbbing head, Buffy replayed the moments from her passionate tryst, which had her cheeks flushing instantly and the tingling ache between her legs returning with full force. She turned off the now frigid water, as a fresh wave of tears began and she slowly climbed out of the shower. After wrapping her hair in a turban, Buffy bundled herself in a pink fluffy robe climbed back into her warm bed; her body still partially wet. Before pulling the covers back up over her head, Buffy placed a quick call to the school to let them know she wasn’t going to be able to come in that morning to help with Saturday detention. There was just no way she going to be able to accomplish anything that day other than resting and feeling sorry for herself.

Several hours later, she was awakened again by yet another shrill noise, but this time it was the telephone. Annoyed, she quickly pulled the handset under the covers with her and groggily said, “Hello?” On the other end was Robin Wood, the principal at Hemery High School, calling to check on her. Even though he made sure to assert the fact that he always called and checked on sick employees, Buffy felt sure his actions were due to the mild flirtations they had engaged in since she was hired. She assured him she was doing better and promised to go see a doctor if her condition worsened, thinking at the same time she didn’t know which type of caregiver she would need for this particular illness. Finally, she was able to get him off the phone and retreat back into her haven.

 

It clock was nearing four in the afternoon when she forced herself to crawl back out of the bed. The band was meeting in an hour to rehearse a new song and she was already running late. She barely glanced in the mirror as she got ready to leave; tugging on some clothes that had been carelessly tossed on the floor and gathered her hair in a knot at the nape of her neck. Unable to function at anything other than a snail‘s pace, she grabbed her keys and headed towards the studio.

As usual, Buffy was the last to arrive. When she entered the room, the aroma of food wafted into her nose and caused her stomach to churn. The effects of last night’s alcohol consumption made her nauseous from the smell, but the lack of food in her system also had her tummy growling in anticipation. Studying the cart, she settled on a croissant and water and wandered over to her band mates. She mumbled a quick hello and settled herself on the couch, waiting for her cue to begin practice.

Faith eyed her cautiously, wondering what had the usually abnormally perky Buffy so miserable. With a gleam in her eye, Faith remembered Buffy’s late dinner date with Riley. Grinning, she asked “B, you look like hell. Did that beast Riley wear you out last night?” She sauntered over to where her friend was sprawled on the sofa and perched on the arm rest. Buffy quietly mumbled that Riley had nothing to do with her condition, and stated that she just didn’t feel well today.

“Uh, yeah, right,” Faith laughed and pointed towards Buffy‘s neck, “Sick, huh? Looks to me, B, like you were bit by something, or should I say, someone last night!”

A look of alarm crossed Buffy’s face. “What are you talking about, Faith?!” She jumped off the couch, her hands covering her neck, and crossed the room to look in the mirror. She gasped in horror when she noticed a red bruise hovering around the area of her jugular. ‘Holy shit!’ She thought to herself as she warily eyeballed the unsightly hickey. Grimacing, Buffy turned back to Faith and asked, “Would you believe it was a hair styling mishap?”

Shaking her head at her shocked friend, Faith chuckled and said, “Not even if pigs flew through the room right now would I believe that a curling iron did that to your neck. So, if Riley wasn’t the culprit, who was?”

“No one you know.” Buffy muttered, thinking to herself that even she didn’t know who was to blame. It was then that Xander and Oz decided to join the conversation, poking fun at her juvenile hickey. Buffy groaned some more, as if the shame she was experiencing wasn’t bad enough now, she had to relive it by having to do a question and answer section. Pleading with them, Buffy begged them to move on to another topic or start practice. Oz noticed her discomfort and helped direct Faith and Xander’s attention elsewhere. For the next two hours, Buffy threw herself into learning the new work and pushed the memories from last night to the back of her brain.

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Across town, a certain blonde paced impatiently in his living room while simultaneously cursing himself for never getting her name, then cursing himself for drinking so much whiskey that he had forgotten to act like he was a civilized human being. One glance from the stage and Spike was entranced for the remainder of the night. His dick had taken over, attacking the stunning beauty like he was a cave man. “Hell, it’s a sodding wonder that I didn’t just conk her over the head and drag her back to my bloody flat!” He fumed, kicking his leg out and striking the edge of the coffee table, sending Dru’s magazines scattering to the floor.

After he had gotten home, Drusilla was waiting up for him in the kitchen; he noticed that her bags were still packed and sitting in the foyer. Briefly he had thought that it would be easier if she would just leave, making him feel worse for cheating on her at the bar. They had been together so long that if felt like over a hundred years of fighting and loving one another. Spike had never thought that another woman would ever consume him, until he found his ray of sunlight. Guilt and liquor had him in a rather foul mood when he saw Dru, and it was over before it ever began. Tears were shed, hateful words were screamed. When it was all said and done, his dark princess called it quits and walked out of his life for good. Deep inside, Spike knew he should feel worse about what had happened between him and Dru, but his foul mood was solely focused on the woman he’d let sprint away from him the night before with her shoes clutched against her chest and tears streaming down her cheeks.

When the phone rang a while later, Spike had no problem accepting the job opportunity given to him; needing both to focus on something other than the night before and escape from his life for a while. Bright and early the next morning, he would be leaving for six months to do private security for yet another overly rich individual that had gotten themselves into a fine mess. Lighting a cigarette, Spike flopped down on to the black leather couch, sinking down low to put his feet onto the coffee table like Drusilla hated, and prayed that things would be better when he returned.

Chapter Text

Eventually, the embarrassing sting of her actions in the bathroom at Lorne’s club faded away into a humiliating memory. Even though their first date had been less than stellar, by no means producing any overwhelming sexual desires, Buffy gave Riley another chance and now, two months later, their relationship was growing with each passing day. That night, after another dinner at a restaurant that was entirely too frou-frou for Buffy’s taste, he had accompanied her back to her house for a little more than a night cap.

Now, several hours later, Buffy slid as silently as possible from the bed, leaving Riley snoring peacefully. Tiptoeing quietly, she quickly made her way to the bathroom and eased the door shut. Still sweaty from sex, she desperately needed a shower and had wanted to take one after she and Riley had finished having sex, but he had immediately pulled her close, holding on tightly until he slipped into a sated slumber. As she waited for the water to heat up, Buffy thought back to the encounter between her and Riley earlier. The sex had been gentle and sweet, what most women wanted, but it had lacked the two things Buffy desired: passion and release. She tried not to overanalyze each and every second of their lovemaking and simply decided to hope for improvement with time since tonight as their first time. She and Riley had grown quite close over the past couple of months, she truly cared deeply for Riley and craved a satisfying and passionate sexual relationship with him.

Finally the water reached the desired scalding temperature that she craved so Buffy stepped into the shower, moaning in satisfaction as the hot water rolled down her body. She quickly washed her hair, inhaling the fragrant scent from her lavender shampoo. As she soaped her body, she lightly grazed over the small triangle of curls between her thighs, sending tingles all through her. Buffy ached for the release that she had been unable to achieve with Riley and pressed down on her clit. The immediate sensation of pleasure had her mind wandering to the only image that had helped bring her to orgasm over the past couple weeks. Closing her eyes, she envisioned his platinum hair and felt his masculine hands running over her skin. Imagining it was his fingers inside of her, she bit her lip to prevent the scream that threatened to escape. With two fingers working frantically, she pressed the heel of her palm against her sensitive apex. Buffy moaned lightly when she felt the heat build between her legs. Her imagination worked over time to where she could feel the sensation of the rough denim of his jeans on her thighs, the cool leather of his duster on her arms and the moist heat of his mouth on her skin. Leaning her head against the cool tile, she fought back her final scream of pleasure as she imagined his fingers finding the small bundle of nerves just inside her walls, bringing the release she desired.

Once she was able to pull herself off the floor of the shower, where she had sank down to with legs the consistency of jelly after the blinding force of her orgasm, she prepared to return to the darkened bedroom. Just as quietly as she entered, Buffy slipped from the bathroom after her shower and crawled back into the bed beside Riley. With a smile on her lips, and the ache between her thighs satiated for the moment, she fell into a peaceful slumber.

The next day, after spending the morning with Riley, Buffy was craving some girl talk and in dire need of some time with her best friend. Grabbing the phone, she called Willow and invited her over for a Girl’s Night In since Tara was out of town for the weekend visiting her family. Tara had recently begun trying to mend the situation with her family since they had turned away from her years earlier when she announced that she was a lesbian. Willow had declined going with her partner until things had calmed down with her parents and was currently very bored and lonely. The red head had eagerly accepted the invitation and promised to stop by and pick up some movies if Buffy would order some pizza.

Willow showed up a couple of hours later, around seven o’clock, movies in hand. She bounced excitedly on the front porch, she and Buffy hadn’t spent much time together recently and she missed her best friend. Hugging her tiny blonde buddy tightly and triumphantly announced, “I got our favorite movies! The Princess Bride and The Cutting Edge! Bring on the cheesy goodness!”

Dropping the movies off in the living room, the girls headed down the hallway to the kitchen to eat. Willow perched on the stool at the island while Buffy grabbed the bottle of merlot she had set out to breathe earlier. She joined her friend at the counter and poured the wine into the glasses already set out by the pizza box, then immediately dove into the extra cheese and pepperoni pizza that had arrived only moments before Willow had.

A bottle of wine later, the movies had been forgotten and the girls had relocated into the living room to pile onto the couch along with a second bottle of merlot. Inevitably, the conversation had turned to Buffy and Riley’s relationship. Buffy admitted that while things were going very well between them, she was having some doubts. She recounted the previous night’s events, sans her escapades in the shower. Pausing, Buffy polished off her glass of wine and leaned back against the couch.

“Will, it was just so awkward! He’s just too big and I don’t mean in the package department. Not that it was shrimpy, but I’ve seen bigger! “She paused, her cheeks brightening thinking about her blonde fantasy. Quickly she added, “We just don’t fit together well. I felt like I was being squished into the mattress!”

Ever the observant listener, the bright red blush that spread across Buffy’s face didn’t go unnoticed by Willow. “What’s with the red face, Buff? Are you leaving out something juicy?” She kidded, poking her friend in the side. “Come on! Fess up! I want all the tasty details!”

Thanks to the wine, Buffy was more than willing to dish to her friend about the mystery man and the bathroom incident. “I dunno what came over me, Will. It was like this little voice in the back of my mind said ‘Go for it! You want this man!’ and I just did it. For crying out loud, I was all set to jump his bones in a bar bathroom. The bathroom in the bar that my manager owns of all places!! Now I can’t think straight. All brain activity goes directly to this guy that I don’t even know.” She moaned, shutting her eyes, “Hell, I don’t even know his name! I am such a ho-bag!”

“Aw, Buffy, don’t be so hard on yourself! Things like that happen. The lust monster jumped in and you couldn’t do anything about it. Plus, on the bright side, maybe Riley will turn out to be some sexual demon and make you his willing slave girl.” Willow said encouragingly, trying to console her obviously upset friend. “Last night was the first time, sex is always weird the first time.”

Buffy nodded as though she agreed, but something told her that Riley wasn’t the sex god Willow thought he might be. She resigned herself to the fact that since she didn’t even know who her mystery lust-monster-inducing man and would likely never see him again. A little sad now, Buffy steered Willow away from the topic of her sex life and suggested that they finally watch the movies Willow had brought. It didn’t take long before both girls were engrossed in the romantic comedy and Buffy was sufficiently distracted from her love life woes.

Feeling woozy since they’d decided to inhale the second bottle of wine, Willow had decided to stay the night and not drive home, so Buffy got her some pajamas and settled into the guest room before heading to her own room. As she lay there staring at the ceiling, she silently hoped her friend was right about her and Riley. She hated to think about what would happen to their relationship if after each sexual experience with him, she had to relieve herself in the shower.

In spite of her concern over her sex life with Riley, Buffy was able to drift off to sleep without thinking about a certain blonde stranger…for the first time in weeks.

Chapter Text

Days passed quickly, weeks turned into months and the air outside grew cooler as the season’s prepared to change. Buffy had never felt so overwhelmed in her life. Between her daytime job at the high school, burning the midnight oil with the band trying to record their album and spending time with Riley, Buffy barely had any time to herself. She did, however, manage to sneak off to Caritas every Thursday. No one other than Lorne, of course, knew where Buffy disappeared to, but not even he knew her real reasons for always being there. She tried to tell herself that singing at the bar helped her professionally, but in the back of her mind Buffy knew her reasoning was a lie. Each Thursday night, she scanned the crowd relentlessly while she sang and hoped to catch a glimpse of white hair.

Her wishes were never granted.

She eventually had to face reality and finally gave up all hopes of ever finding her passionate stranger again, and threw herself completely into a serious relationship with Riley. They had been seeing each other exclusively now for almost five months and she had decided to take him with her for Christmas vacation to meet her family. As the days grew closer to their departure date, Buffy was getting seriously nervous about her first trip to England, since her mother had moved there after remarrying, as well as introducing Riley to her family. The only other person that she was romantically involved that had ever been introduced to her mother was Angel, which had gone very badly since Joyce had not been privy to the fact that he was several years older than her daughter until she met him. Based on the outcome of that meeting, Buffy was rather anxious about taking Riley with her.

She was, however, very excited about getting to see her mother, stepfather and especially her younger sister, Dawn. The three had moved to England a couple months after Dawn had graduated high school and announced that she had applied to Oxford on a whim and had been accepted. Their stepfather, Rupert Giles, was originally from London and had made a remark about how he would eventually like to return there to live. Buffy’s mother, Joyce, being very concerned about sending her youngest to live there and had decided that they would move there as well. Buffy had declined the offer to go with them, opting to finish college at UC Sunnydale and apply for the job opening at Hemery; where she had attended high school her freshmen year before her parent’s divorce.

Dawn had previously arranged to spend her summer break in Los Angeles with Buffy, but her trip this year had been cut short due to school obligations. Other than her short two week visit in June, Buffy hadn’t seen her nineteen year old sister since Christmas; which was also the last time she had seen her mother and Giles. She hoped that this visit would go well, since she had every intention of spending a long time with Riley and wanted her family to like him.

 

Somewhere along the last few months, Buffy had grown very close with the handsome actor and had possibly even fallen in love with him. In secret, Buffy had been scribbling their names together with dozens of hearts etched around it. And, if her suspicions were correct, she believed Riley returned her feelings. There were moments when he didn’t think she was paying attention to him that she would catch him staring googly-eyed at her. Knowing her feelings were returned had lifted a weight off Buffy’s shoulders that she didn’t even know was there. Now, her only concern was why there were still nights when she couldn’t fall asleep without dreaming about a certain sexy bleached stranger.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Clear on the other side of the country, in New York, Spike lounged on the sofa smoking a cigarette contemplating his next move. His contract had only committed him to one job for a period of six months where, at the end of that term, he could either stay on or leave. That was the great thing about doing contracted private security, he was his own boss and never got tied down to one place too long. Spike was only called for delicate matters; if a situation required a certain amount of finesse, then you called him. As a bonus, he was trained in various forms of martial arts and firearms. Therefore, if a client needed to be educated in self-defense, he took them under his wing, never giving up until they were well skilled. The personal attention that was required between Spike and his client allowed for a rather hefty paycheck at the end of his term. Even with the large sum of his paycheck, he was repeatedly requested with many clients as well as received numerous referrals all over the world.

He was currently faced with a tough decision this time; this job offer would require at least a year long contract overseas with little to no contact with outside relations. Part of him wanted to accept the offer, but the other side eagerly anticipated returning home…to find her.

Thoughts of her supple skin and golden locks had devoured his mind. He was consumed with her passionate kisses and throaty moans of arousal, even after all this time. Many nights had been spent lying in bed, unable to sleep, his erection throbbing under the sheets, aching for her touch. Mentally, he cursed himself repeatedly for not finding out her name. Now he had no idea how he was going to find her when and if he returned back home. A thought flashed through his mind, one so simple that he felt the need to smack himself in the forehead, that someone at Caritas might know who she was. Surely, someone that beautiful and talented would have caught the eye of more than just him, right? Finishing off the last of his scotch, he walked across the room and refilled his glass, his decision was finally made.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Bright and early one Saturday morning, while Spike was on the other side of the country debating his next step, Buffy rolled out of bed cursing Lorne for scheduling a session at the studio at such an ungodly hour. But, she knew that the hours had to be put in, since the band had decided to put two more tracks on their album, which was set to release in a few weeks. Due to the time constraints, the recordings needed to be done as soon as possible, preferably sometime that week.

After the decision had been made to add more tracks to their debut album, Buffy had mustered up the courage to give her doting manager copies of some of the songs she had written over the summer. Lorne had called the day before, as she was leaving the high school, and asked her to stop by the office to see what the others thought about using her material, prior to them going in to the studio. While she was eager to hear their opinions, Buffy was also sporting a serious case of nerves because they might not like her work. After a quick shower, Buffy got dressed, not bothering with fussing with her makeup and hair since it was so early in the morning. Quickly grabbing a pop tart and bottle of water, she was out the door and on her way to the meeting.

Half an hour later, she sat cross legged on the floor with her back pressed up against the couch and eagerly awaited a response from her friends. They each had a copy of the lyrics and were spaced out around the office studying her work intently. After several agonizing minutes, which caused her nails to now be chewed down to the quick, Buffy got the validation that she needed when the group decided to give the new songs a shot. Unable to contain her excitement, Buffy squealed with happiness and clapped her hands like a child who had just received the one present they had longed for on Christmas morning.

Faith was shocked at the passion in the song; it was very obvious that Buffy had written it with someone in mind and she wondered who it was. When she asked Buffy about it, she didn’t get the response that she had hoped for. The petite blonde had only reddened and mumbled that it was just something she had floating around in her head. Then followed up with a load of bull by saying that the song wasn’t about anyone in particular, it was just a song. Eyeing her friend closely, Faith quickly deduced that she was lying. Of course, she had grown close enough to Buffy over the past few months that she knew what would happen if she pushed the matter any further, especially in front of the guys. So, Faith let the matter go for now; deciding that she would grill Buffy later for details, wondering if it had anything to do with the hickey she’d briefly sported over the summer.

Buffy was elated at the response from the band. They had loved the lyrics and had set forth putting it to music. As expected, the process had taken all day and most of the night, but the musical genius, Oz, had finally worked it all out. Around one in the morning they wrapped up the session, deciding to come back in the morning to start practicing. If all went well, they hoped to have it recorded by the next weekend.

Exhaustion was tugging heavily at her limbs as she pulled in to the driveway, where she spotted Riley’s car already taking up one half of the concrete slab in front of her one story bungalow style home. As she climbed out of her Jeep and gathered up the materials that had scattered across the backseat during the drive home, she wondered how long he’d been waiting for her and felt bad about the notion of him just hanging about while she worked, especially since time had gotten away from them while they worked on the new material and had spent far longer than anticipated in the studio. As she headed up the sidewalk, she made a mental note to let him know when she’d be working super late, so he could find something to do to occupy himself other than lounging around her house, which couldn’t be very entertaining.

Pushing open the front door, she sat her guitar down by the foyer table and laid the notebooks in her arms on top of it before heading off in search of Riley. When she turned the corner into the living room, Buffy noticed rose petals scattered across the floor and dozens of candles placed around the dimly lit room. Puzzled, she stepped lightly on the petals and made her way fully into the living room, and finally noticed Riley…down on one knee in front of the fireplace.

“Buffy Anne Summers, I know that we haven’t known each other for very long, but I know enough about you to realize that I want to spend the rest of my life with you in my arms. Will you marry me?” Riley asked, his eyes sparkling and full of love for the woman before him.

Chapter Text

To say that her mother, Joyce, was thrown off guard by the announcement of their engagement would be an understatement. As soon as there was a chance to pull Buffy into the kitchen for a moment of privacy, she did and instantly asked, “Buffy, are you pregnant? Is that why the two of you are getting married so quickly?”

 

“Mom!” Buffy exclaimed as she tried to stifle the laughter that bubbled up inside her chest. However, by doing so, she managed to dribble soda down her chin and had to hold her hand up to her mother, motioning to her to hold on for a moment, while she located a dish towel to mop up the mess she’d made. Once her chin and the kitchen counter, which had caught residual droplets of soda, were cleaned up, she said, “So not pregnant, Mom. I swear! We’re just in love and ready to start the next chapter of our lives together.”

 

Still skeptical, despite her daughter’s reassurance that the sudden engagement had nothing to do with being pregnant, Joyce simply stared at Buffy with a look that she had used many times over the course of her daughter’s adolescence. The expression on her face clearly stated her level of disbelief to her daughter. “Buffy Anne, you’re telling me that after only six months together with only the second guy you’ve dated, the only one of which you’ve dated since high school, you’ve decided that you’re ready to get married?”

 

“I mean, sure…I’m not all experienced in the dating department and it’s a little quick, but when you know, you just know, right?” Buffy idly wiped at the counter top, cleaning a dirty spot that was no longer there, and avoided her mother’s knowing glare. Sure, she had some doubts, but that was normal, right? Everyone got cold feet at some point, or was that only in the movies? “We aren’t running down the aisle right this second anyway. We haven’t even set a date, Mom. So, there’s no reason to get all Momabout it.”

 

“Alright, honey, if you’re sure and you love Riley, then who am I to question it? And, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a nice long engagement either. Take your time.” Joyce smiled at her eldest daughter and reached out to take the dishtowel out of her hand before Buffy rubbed a hole in the counter top. “You’ve always been my levelheaded daughter, I should know you’d have thought this through.”

“Right. Exactly!” Buffy responded, a little too eagerly and way too quickly. She watched silently while her mother turned back to the stove and started preparing dinner and smothered the urge to ask for some motherly advice in regards to the lingering feelings she was having for a perfect stranger and how that might be affecting her current relationship. There was no need to get her mother all riled up and have her fire up the inquisition segment of the visit once more.

Nope. There was no reason at all to bother her mother with the thoughts that continued to plague her, despite months having passed since the night she’d flung herself at a complete stranger in the bathroom of a club. Nope, no reason at all, because there wasn’t any doubt in her mind about marrying Riley…she just had to keep reminding herself that everything was going to be perfectly okay and that the sexual fantasies that plagued her nightly, and didn’t involve her fiancé, would eventually go away.

 

The remainder of the Christmas holidays passed quickly and before long, it was time for Buffy and Riley to fly back to the States. Tears and hugs were exchanged at the gate, and Buffy hated to leave her family yet again. Wiping at her eyes, once she managed to untangle herself from her little sister’s grasp, Buffy said her tearful goodbyes and was thankful that her sister’s visit in June wasn’t that far off. Waving one final goodbye over their shoulders, Riley and Buffy boarded the plane and settled in for the long journey back to California.

 

Buffy snored lightly as she dozed against Riley’s shoulder, leaving a small puddle of drool on his sleeve. She slept soundly until the pilot’s voice filled the cabin announcing their arrival into the JFK airport in New York. Yawning loudly, she stretched like a cat and reached for her purse so that she could assess the damage to her makeup. After the plane had come to a stop, and they were given clearance to exit, they emerged from their seats, they grabbed their carry-on bags from the compartment above. Buffy received a glare from her fiancé because she snickered when he bumped his head against the overhead storage compartment and had the decency to appear somewhat apologetic, while thinking, ‘He is so not designed for small places!’

Unfortunately, the unladylike snort that followed Riley’s ungraceful maneuvering down the narrow aisle of the plane didn’t help matters. Buffy blushed at the sharp tone of Riley’s voice as he cut off her apology, embarrassed that her fiancé had spoken to her like an out of control child instead of the woman he would be marrying in the near future.

 

Sufficiently chagrined, she silently gathered her bags and shuffled along behind her hulking partner. Half an hour later, they made it out of the gate and headed towards the baggage claim without any further incidents. Although, Riley had yet to speak to Buffy, instead he stalked towards the rotating carousel of baggage with long, annoyance filled strides that had Buffy nearly running to keep up with him. As they neared the baggage claim area, Buffy gave up in her pursuit of her fiancé and fell back to a speed that her short legs were comfortable with. She rounded the corner, having no problem keeping Riley in her sights since he was a solid head taller than most of the people bustling around them. Coming to a halt beside Riley, she started to scan the bags on the carousel in search of her suitcase, when her line of sight landed on a shock of platinum blonde hair working its way through the crowd across the room.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Spike was pissed. There was simply no other way to describe his current mood, other than downright pissed off. The day had started out badly and had proceeded to careen downhill from there. As if he needed extra icing on top of the cake, he had missed his flight and had the extreme pleasure of finding out that there wasn’t another one available until well after midnight. “Damn the bloody holidays!” He muttered, his voice a deep growl of frustration.

 

The next day was New Year’s Eve and the airport was jammed full of last minute travelers who seemed just as irritable as he was, but most were also laden with fussy children and loads of baggage, which only added to his delight. ‘What the sodding hell was I thinking trying travel this weekend?!’ He followed up his mental rant with a string of curses that had a mother within earshot covering the ears of her impressionable child and glaring at him with icy annoyance. Turning from the woman’s distasteful stare, Spike audibly sighed with relief when he spotted an exit near the baggage claim.

 

Fed up with traveling for the day, Spike angrily pushed his way through the double doors and stepped out in to the frigid New York weather with the intentions of just finding a hotel nearby for the night.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Eager to chase her proverbial white rabbit, which made sense due to his hair color, Buffy tripped over someone’s badly misplaced suitcase and nearly fell to the floor; managing to catch her balance a split second before face planting directly in to the carousel. Eyes wide, Buffy immediately scanned the area the moment her feet were firmly in place and spotted his bright white hair once more over near the exit on the other side of the baggage claim area. Just as she was on the verge of making a beeline for the exit, Riley grabbed her arm and halted her progress. Wincing slightly from the sudden jab of pain unintentionally caused by his massive hand grasping her tiny arm, she turned towards him with a look of confusion on her face.

 

“Where are you going?” Riley asked with a concerned look on his face, while he motioned with his other hand towards the parade of seemingly never ending suitcases. “We need to get our luggage.”

 

“Um…I have to go to the bathroom?” Her response clearly had a question mark at the end, but Riley didn’t seem to notice that she was simply trying to find some reason to continue her search for the platinum blonde man that haunted her fantasies nightly. Adding some realism to her excuse, Buffy bounced slightly on her toes and imitated the tinkle dance that children often resort to when they’ve held off going to the bathroom for too long.

 

“I told you not to drink two sodas on the plane, didn’t I? Can’t you wait?” He huffed, seeming exasperated with Buffy, and ground his jaw together in aggravation. When Buffy shook her head from side to side and bit her lip, as if she was totally incapable of waiting until after they stood in line to get their suitcases, Riley rolled his eyes and sighed. “Go ahead. I’ll wait here and find the bags.”

 

Nodding quickly, Buffy sprinted in the direction of the bathroom and ducked inside the doorway, and discretely peeked around the tiled wall to see if Riley was watching her. After a few seconds, satisfied that he wasn’t watching her, she hotfooted it towards the nearest exit to see if the man she saw was really who she thought it was. Bursting through the door out onto the sidewalk, she glanced from side to side in hopes of spotting his trademark blonde hair. Her face crumbled and her smile vanished. She was too late, he was already gone. Disappointed, more so than she should be, Buffy’s shoulders slumped in defeat as she turned to go back inside the airport; completely unaware that the man she was searching for was in the backseat of the cab just across the way from her.

 

When she opened the door, she ran straight into Riley’s massive chest, causing her to stumble backwards. He reached out and grabbed her by the arm too tightly, causing a pain to shoot through her arm once again. Buffy winced and realized she’d be lucky to not have a black and blue arm by the time morning officially rolled around, and tried to wriggle her arm out of his meaty grasp. “I wasn’t aware that stepping outside for some fresh air was against the rules! Geesh!” She informed him with a heated glare as her voice raised a few octaves. “Riley, let go of my arm, please. You’re hurting me.”

 

Riley’s demeanor instantly changed at her words, as though he completely unaware of the pain he was inflicting on her arm. Smiling sheepishly, he quickly apologized. “I’m sorry, sweetie. I just got worried when I couldn’t find you. Thought maybe you had decided to run off and leave me. Is your arm okay? Sometimes I forget how tiny you are. Please forgive me.” He begged, seemingly honest in his sincerity. For a moment, Buffy felt a tiny twinge of guilt for making him worry about her, but a switch had been flipped inside and made her look at Riley in a different way. Had he always been that physically controlling or was this a solitary incident that wouldn’t happen again? Either way, her mother’s words came rushing back to her about rushing in to a marriage with a man she barely knew and Buffy wondered if maybe they were taking things too fast. Rubbing her aching bicep, her body was stiff when Riley slipped his arm around her shoulder and steered her in the direction of the parking lot.

 

Since their connecting flight from New York to Los Angeles had been delayed due to bad weather, they didn’t get home until after midnight. Exhausted, Buffy threw her coat and purse onto the couch and marched straight up the stairs to her bedroom. She was thankful that Riley had decided to go back to his place since she was still quite upset with him over the scene at the airport. After a quick shower, Buffy crawled in to her bed and snuggled with her stuffed pig, Mr. Gordo. Suddenly awake, she stared at the ceiling and replayed the events of the evening in her busy mind. Despite the fact that Riley had apologized ad nauseam for the remainder of the trip for reacting the way he had, Buffy still had a sick, uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach about their relationship. Eventually she drifted into a fitful slumber, plagued with thoughts of never finding out the identity of her mystery man in leather.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

All the way back in New York, Spike realized that with the holidays and the weather, he wasn’t the only one to have the idea to get a hotel room nearby since they all appeared to be filled to capacity. Eventually, he rendered his search useless and ended up waiting in the airport on standby for a flight. After spending the majority of his evening in the airport bar, he managed to score a seat on a red eye flight, thanks in part to the cash he forked out for first class. Exhausted from the events of the day, as well as half lit on the whiskey he’d consumed at the bar, Spike leaned his head against the window once he was settled on the plane, and slept peacefully for the entire flight, with images of tousled blonde hair, passionate kisses and supple breasts pushed against his chest floating through his dreams.

Chapter Text

Time flew by for Buffy, a chaotic whirlwind that had her feeling as though she was being pulled in a million different directions all at once. By the time summer rolled around, the band’s first album had been released and Serenity’s title track, Taking Over Me, had shot to the top of the music charts in only a few short weeks. Thanks to their quick success, their schedule was jam packed with interviews, photo shoots and performances. That spring, she and Faith had been chosen for spread in Maxim’s School of Rock issue that featured up and coming female musicians and had somehow ended up on the cover, even though that hadn’t been the original plan. On top of it all, Lorne was in the process of lining up their first headlining tour, totally theirs instead of picking up performances here and there with other bands, by the end of the summer. In the end, Buffy had been forced to make the difficult decision to take a sabbatical and not return to work when school started back that fall. She felt horrible for doing so, feelings as though she was letting down the students, but it was something she had to do if she wanted to focus on her music career. If everything fell apart musically, she could always return to counseling, but this was her once shot at something more.

Due to her hectic schedule, Buffy knew that Riley was feeling neglected and was driving her bonkers with the constant pouting about their lack of alone and complaining about not setting the date for the wedding yet. Buffy couldn’t help the nagging feeling that plagued her daily that maybe all of his whining and pouting was because he might be a little bit jealous of the publicity her career was getting all of the sudden, since his last movie hadn’t done so well at the box office. Riley’s faltering career had him crabbier than normal, but at least he hadn’t treated her the way he had at the airport when traveling home after the holidays, which Buffy had ended up chalking up to stress from meeting her family and his movie that had released the weekend after New Year’s. Since that night, he had been a perfect gentleman and back to acting like his charming self, for which Buffy was grateful. That night had not only left her with a series of plum colored bruises circling her bicep, but had caused doubts about their relationship that still had a tendency to linger in the back of her mind to this day.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

At his apartment, the one he used to share with Drusilla, but now resided in all alone, Spike choked on his coffee and cursed as the hot liquid dribbled down his chin. The magazine in his hand had shocked the shit out of him and caused him to momentarily forget the hot beverage in the other hand. After carefully sitting the mug of steaming hot black coffee down on the table, he turned his attention back to the magazine; most importantly, the cover of the Maxim magazine that had him stunned in to silence.

There on the cover of the magazine was his golden goddess, staring back at him with desire in her eyes and little to nothing covering her tight little body. Perched on the edge of a desk, wearing the skimpiest schoolgirl uniform in the history of uniforms, was the woman that had been running rampant in his fantasies for months on end. Her shampoo commercial worthy golden locks were tied in braided pigtails with pink ribbons trailing from the ends, making her appear both sweet and sexy at the same time. The outfit, or lack thereof, consisted of a silky white shirt with the buttons mostly undone, teasingly tied under her pert breasts which were encased in a pink lace bra, paired with the teensiest pink and white plaid skirt, which was short enough to show the lacy rows of ribbon that adorned the pink underwear that teasingly peeked out below the tartan material. White thigh high stockings decorated with tiny pink bows on the front and black patent high heeled Mary Jane’s completed the visually stimulating outfit. She was so sexy that Spike barely glanced at the dark haired girl perched on the next desk who wore a black and red replica of the stunning blonde beauty; dark and light contrasting against one another.

Mustering up his composure, Spike managed to get his hands to open the magazine and locate the article about the girls on the cover. At long last, he finally had a name to go with the memory of her face and body, Buffy Summers. He wasn’t shocked in the slightest to find out that she was the lead singer of the newest hit band, Serenity, not since hearing her soulful voice at the club. He finished the article quickly since there wasn’t much more than a glossed over section about their sudden success, but his eyes lingered on the photos that were scattered throughout the pages. After thoroughly inspecting each image at least twice, Spike lowered the magazine to his lap and sat in shocked silence; completely stunned that he had finally found out her name.

His mind wandered back to their steamy embrace damn near a year ago, as it often did when he was alone at night. Even after all this time, he could still remember and feel every sensation from those few precious moments when she had been on fire in his embrace. The images of her pinned against the cool metal door, panting and grasping for his touch, had Spike growing hard instantly. His cock pressed painfully against the zipper of his black denim jeans and throbbed with desire; looking down to find Buffy staring up at him from the magazine didn’t help his condition in the slightest.

A quick glance at the clock showed that he was already on the verge of being late to meet his friends for a drink, but Spike reasoned with himself and decided that he couldn’t very well show up at the bar with a raging hard on. He pushed off the couch, magazine clutched securely in his hand, and made his way down the hall into the bathroom. Spike laid the magazine on the bathroom counter, before lowering the zipper on his pants and releasing his engorged cock into his hand. Staring down at the cover of the magazine, her emerald green eyes stared back at him and he imagined that her plump pink lips were wrapped around his dick, instead of it being his own hand.

His thumb swirled around the head of his cock and swiped at the bead of moisture on the tip, before he slid his hand down to grab hold of the hardened shaft. Without tearing his gaze away from the scantily clad blonde on the cover of the magazine, his strokes became faster and his grip tighter as he sought out the release his body craved. He tightly gripped the edge of the counter with his other hand as his climax neared. A few more strokes and Spike roared as his release tore through him and he came directly on the shiny cover of the magazine…exactly where he hadn’t wanted to do so, but was unable to do anything about it at the moment.

Panting, Spike leaned forward to rest his forehead against the cool mirror; momentarily satisfied. When his heart rate started to slow and his breathing returned to a normal pace, Spike looked down and took notice of just how much damage he had done to the magazine and realized that it would just be easier to buy another copy, instead of trying to salvage the one that was now clearly ruined. He quickly cleaned himself up and shoved his momentarily satiated dick back in to his pants, Spike ripped the good splattered cover off the magazine and shoved only it into the wastebasket since the article inside wasn’t damaged.

With his desires dealt with for the time being, Spike headed out to meet up with his friends at the Hellmouth, one of the premiere clubs on the Strip. Sure, he was late, but he’d make up for it with a round of drinks when he got there.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The band was scheduled to play that night and, as usual, Buffy was running late. Having shown up at the club nearly half an hour behind schedule, she was thankful that Lorne had already hired someone to do her hair and makeup, and she had no doubt that Anya would do both in half the time it would have taken her to do it on her own. That was, of course, if Xander could control his hormones for five minutes and stop pestering the pretty waif while she curled Buffy’s hair. Although, judging by the faint pink tint to Anya’s cheeks, Buffy suspected that she wasn’t quite opposed to the flirting.

Buffy cut a glance at the clock on the wall and noticed that the were set to go on in half an hour and she was still decked out in rollers and an oversized button up shirt she had snagged out of Riley’s closet. Her nerves were starting to sneak up on her and it was evident in the way her foot was bouncing on the foot peg of the chair she was sitting in while Anya worked on plastering layers of makeup on her face.

“You’re tardiness annoys me,” The petite stylist stated bluntly, something that Buffy had yet to become accustomed to and often found herself on the receiving end of severely hurt feelings when around Anya. “The only excuse for being late is multiple orgasms, and you do not appear to have had any of those lately…or maybe a chance to make some money. That’s excusable, too. Orgasms and money, nothing else.”

“Well, unfortunately my super lateness wasn’t because of either reason. Although, I wouldn’t have minded being held up with an orgasm or twelve!” Buffy‘s cheeks blushed a fiery red and she couldn’t believe she’d said something that bold about sexual gratification, or the lack of it, to someone she barely knew. Stammering, she added, “I mean, you know, more orgasms can’t be a bad thing, right?”

 

“Is this Riley not sexually pleasing? That’s quite worrisome, Buffy, especially if you’re going to marry him. Orgasms should always be a priority, you know?” Anya bluntly asked, sending an even deeper red flush to spread all the way down Buffy’s neck and across her chest, which wasn’t entirely from embarrassment, but because she knew that what Anya had pointed out was true. Granted, her sex life with Riley had drastically improved since the first overly mediocre time, but Buffy still had to sneak away to the bathroom to take care of her own pleasure more than she’d like to admit.

Thankfully, the anxiety over her lackluster sex life was pushed aside when Lorne sashayed in to the dressing room in a flurry of chartreuse excitement. He stood in the center of the room and waited until all eyes were on him, before clapping his hands and enthusiastically announcing that it was show time.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Out in the crowd, and it was quite a large one, Spike scanned the swarm of writhing bodies until he located his friends; Wesley Wyndam-Price, his wife, Winnifred, and Charles Gunn in a booth on the edge of the stage. Weaving his way through the congested crowd, he briefly wondered what band was playing that would attract this many people, and cursed the throngs of bodies as he made his way over to Wes, Fred and Gunn. After several agonizingly annoying minutes, he finally managed to reach his destination and quickly slid into the vinyl covered booth to settle next to the lovely brunette, whose slender frame took up little to no space at all. “’Lo everyone.” He immediately glanced around until he spotted the waitress and flagged her over; ordering two rounds of drinks since the crowd was so thick and it would undoubtedly be difficult to get another once the show started. When the waitress disappeared, he shook out a cigarette from the half crumpled back in his shirt pocket, shoved the end into his mouth and asked, while lighting the tip, “So, who’s responsible for this large of a crowd?”

“Just my newest musical obsession! But, I’m sure you haven’t heard of them though, they’re not quite your type of music.” Fred answered quickly and Spike noted the sparkle in her eyes as she polished off the cranberry colored drink he had just ordered her another of and Spike wondered just how many she’d had already. “Serenity should be on in about ten minutes, give or take a few. You know how these things lack punctuality.”

The moment the band’s name slipped past Fred’s lips, Spike’s mouth gaped open in surprise for a moment, before he reeled in his lack of composure. What were the odds that out of all the places, he had miraculously found his way to Buffy? Swallowing, Spike tried to play it cool and calmly replied, “Um…yeah, weren’t they that band on the cover of Maxim? Haven’t heard any of their songs, but the birds are hot enough.”

 

“Man that was one hot cover!” Gunn exclaimed as a leer spread across his face. “Had me all sorts of bothered, if you know what I mean!” He grunted and rubbed his shoulder after Fred punched him and jokingly told him to behave; pointing out that they were all aware of his feelings for that girl.

Hearing that Gunn was sporting a hard-on for one of the girl’s in Serenity had Spike’s jealousy rearing its ugly green head, logic didn’t even bother to tell him that his friend could very well be attracted to the brunette, instead of his golden goddess. Spike reeled in his rising temper and asked with a clenched jaw, “Which girl? The blonde?”

“Nah, hell no! Don’t get me wrong, she ain’t hurting in the looks department, but I’m talking about that fine ass, Faith! That is one sexy ass woman!” Gunn announced, never noticing the ire that was rising in his friend, as he tipped back the bottle of nearly empty beer and chugged down the last bit of liquid.

Spike released the death grip he unknowingly had on the edge of the table as the wave of jealously retreated for the moment. How in the world had he allowed himself to get that worked up over a woman he didn’t even know? He shook his head in disbelief and lifted his hand to take a long drag off the half burnt cigarette he’d barely shown any attention to just as the lights in the club started to dim.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

On the darkened stage, settled behind the microphone, Buffy waited patiently for the music and her cue to start singing. They had never played in this particular club and she liked that it seemed darker than the others they had performed in, the low light soothed her pre-show jitters considerably since she couldn’t see much of anything past the edge of the stage.

Swaying with the beat of the music, she tapped a finger against her thigh and when it was time, Buffy took a deep breath and began to sing the song that had rocketed them straight into the limelight, the title track from their album, Taking Over Me. ”You don’t remember me, but I remember you…I lie awake and try so hard not to think of you…But who can decide what they dream? And, dream I do.”

”I believe in you…I’ll give up everything just to find you…I have to be with you to live, to breathe…You’re taking over me.” She loved performing this particular song, the first one she had shown her band mates, the one she had written late at night after dreaming about the man who’d made her feel more in one passionate embrace than anyone else had ever made her feel. With all of her heart, Buffy poured every drop of passion, of need and of desire in to the song. ”I believe in you…I’ll give up everything just to find you…I have to be with you to live, to breathe…You’re taking over me.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

”I look in the mirror and see your face…If I look deep enough….So many things inside that are just like you are taking over.” Spike watched her intently, mesmerized by her every move. Her sultry voice filled the room and wrapped him in its warm embrace. Everything around him faded away and he felt as though she was singing only to him, as though each word in the song was meant solely for him. ”Taking over me…You’re taking over me…Taking over me…Taking over me.”

The last notes of the song faded away to nothing and yet, she continued to sway to music that was no longer there; eyes closed and a look of pure rapture on her beautiful face. In that moment, Spike had never felt as utterly obsessed with another person as he did with Buffy Summers and wanted nothing more than to have her all to himself.

She would be his and he would have her.

Chapter Text

The moment the concert came to an end, Spike sprang from the booth and made his way through the swarm of people towards the security guards at the back stage entrance. Relief surged through his body when he realized that he knew the muscular man guarding the door and wouldn’t have any trouble getting around Lindsey; whom he used to work with on occasion. After a brief conversation, Lindsey used his radio to let someone know who Spike was and that it was all right for him to be back there. Smiling triumphantly to himself, Spike headed off to find Buffy.

He spotted her standing near the drums with the other band members and was momentarily stunned by the fact that he had finally found her. After only a brief moment of hesitation, Spike mustered up his courage and headed in her direction; only to be pushed rudely aside by a hulk of a man. Stumbling backwards into wall, he quickly regained his balance and prepared for a fight that he was sure was waiting for him. However, what he witnessed instead of a fight sent a searing pain through his heart and his blood to bubble and boil with anger. His stomach twisted in knots as he watched Buffy stand on the tips of her toes and reach upwards in to the waiting embrace of the man who had almost knocked Spike over.

Seething with barely controlled anger and a heart full of regret, Spike fled from the room.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Bright and early the next morning, entirely too soon after the sun had risen, Buffy was rudely awakened by the shrill sound of the telephone screaming at her from across the room. Groggily, she rolled out of bed and stumbled like the sleep deprived zombie that she felt like to the dresser where the telephone was currently located. Grumbling her hello in to the phone, she was greeted by a too awake and far too perky Lorne, who proclaimed to have ‘major important news’ and followed up the conversation by strict instructions to get her ‘sweet little behind’ to his office pronto. Despite the lack of sleep, having only gotten home from the performance a measly five hours before the wakeup call, Buffy managed to shower, get dressed and make it out the front door within half an hour.

Afterward the meeting with Lorne and the band, Buffy was stunned, to say the least. Never in a million years had she expected to receive such amazing news! Bursting with excitement, she hurried to the car and headed home, eager to fill Riley in on Lorne’s fantastic news. She drove like a madwoman, only slightly crazier than the way she normally drove, and managed to make it back across town to her new home in record time. Seeing the new house when she pulled into the driveway was still a bit of a shock since she yet to fully adjust to the fact that she and Riley had purchased and moved into a new house only two weeks ago. Buffy slammed the shifter into park, scrambled out of the car and sprinted up the steps to burst through the front door. “Riley!” She shrieked, excitedly, bouncing around the foyer.

“What’s wrong? Are you ok?” Riley asked with worry written across his face as he lumbered down the stairs.

“You will so never guess what just happened to me today!” Buffy exclaimed, barely taking a breath between her words. Of course, she was so excited that she didn’t give her fiancé a chance to guess; eagerly continuing with her good news. “Lorne booked us for a three month tour! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!? I’ve only been out of California a few times and now I get to go on a freaking tour around the world. Isn’t it totally amazing?!” She shrieked loudly, jumping up and down around Riley like a child on an invisible pogo stick; never noticing the unhappy expression on his face.

“When do you leave?” Riley managed to ask with a controlled voice, trying not to let any emotion show. Having his fiancé go on out on tour was the last thing he wanted, or honestly expected, to actually happen. While he thought that Buffy’s band was fairly decent, he honestly believed that her music ‘career’ would fizzle out after a while, which would allow her to focus on being a homemaker like his mother was for their family; what a woman was supposed to do for her man. He was ready to get married, settle down and start having children, and having his fiancé prancing around the world doing who knows what without him there to supervise certainly didn’t play in to his future plans.

“That’s what’s even crazier than finding out about the tour! We leave next Thursday! Our first show is in Dallas on Friday night. Oh my gawd! I have no idea how I am going to get things ready that quickly! I have too many details to take care of!” It was then Buffy noticed the expression marring Riley’s face. “What’s the matter?” She placed her small hand on his arm, only to have it brushed away angrily. Confused, Buffy crossed her arms across her chest in a protective manner and quietly asked, “Aren’t you happy for me?”

“Don’t act like you have no idea what Friday night is!” Riley spit out, his voice raising to just below a shout. “As usual, your career is more important than mine!” Exasperated, he threw his hands up which caused Buffy to flinch in fear, although it had been months since his anger had caused him to lash out at her.

“What did I do wrong this time, exactly?” Buffy asked cautiously, after following Riley into the kitchen as he stalked away from her. While he was clearly upset with her for some reason, Buffy couldn’t figure out as to what she had actually done this time to deserve his anger. She stood in the archway to the kitchen and crossed her arms over her chest and waited for Riley to calm down long enough to answer her question.

“I don’t know why I’m surprised that you forgot about my awards ceremony Friday night. It’s obvious that you are entirely too important to belittle yourself by attending the banquet with me.” Riley exploded, his face flushed an angry red as his temper continued to rise.

“Riley, honey, please calm down.” Buffy pleaded, finally lowering her arms and crossing the room to where Riley was pacing back and forth across the floor. “You’re frightening me. I didn’t forget about you, I swear. I’m just really excited right now. I’m sorry the show is the same day as your ceremony, but I have to be there. I can’t pass this opportunity up, you understand that, right?” She slowly stepped towards him, placing her hand on his chest in hopes that she could get him calm down. Relief spread through her when she saw him release the breath he had been holding inside.

“You’re right, I’m sorry.” Riley finally admitted, although anger still coursed through his veins. He just knew that his fellow actors were going to be sitting at the table with their partners, sipping champagne and judging him for being there alone; for not being able to control his fiancé and make sure that she made him a priority over her career.

“I hate I’m not going to be there to watch you get that award.” Buffy added as she stepped in to the arms he opened up to her. Wrapped in his massive embrace, she blinked away the tears that were stinging in her eyes and hated that once again, Riley had made the situation about him, instead of congratulating her on her big news. What would she have to do to gain his admiration?

While the storm known as Riley’s temper had once again blown over, Buffy couldn’t help but wonder if this was the romance she had dreamed about as a little girl. She didn’t question her love for Riley, but for the first time Buffy was beginning to think that their romance didn’t feel like the beginning of Happily Ever After.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The days passed quickly, a lot faster than Buffy had imagined they would actually, and it seemed like all of the sudden it was Thursday afternoon and time for her to leave. She waited as patiently as possible with the rest of the band for their flight number to be called, although her nerves were threatening to spill over and cause a major breakdown if they didn’t get out of the holding area and on a plane soon. She had planned ahead to ahead and said her goodbyes to Riley at the house, instead of the airport, so that she could avoid any awkward scenes in front of her band mates. So far, they had only seen the sweet, good old boy version of Riley and she hoped to keep it that way. Eventually, after what seemed like hours, but in reality was only a single hour out of her life, their flight was called to begin boarding. Brimming with a combination of nervousness and excitement, Buffy gathered up her carry-on items and followed her band mates towards the terminal.

While she knew that the tour would mean long hours, hard work and very little sleep, Buffy was looking forward to having some alone time. She hadn’t mentioned the scene with Riley to anyone, scared of what they might think of her, but she had every intention of having a serious conversation with herself and deciding whether or not Riley was the person she was destined to spend forever with. In her heart, Buffy knew that he wasn’t her soul mate, but she wasn’t entirely certain that she believed in soul mates at all. What she really wanted was someone who loved her as much as she loved him, someone to come home to and share a bed with, someone who supported her, and someone who made her burn with desire for them. None of which she felt particularly applied to her fiancé at the current moment. Luckily, she had three months to consider her options and make a decision in regards to getting married.

Once on the plane, she found her seat, settled in and looked around fairly small plane. Lorne had surprised them by calling Angel and hiring two of his men for security, saying that he would feel better knowing that his top assets were properly protected while out on the road and not to worry about the money, but Buffy figured that her longtime friend had given Lorne a deal because she knew how much Angel charged for his services. She had briefly met the handsome men while waiting at the gate and decided that upon first impressions she liked both of them instantly and, for the most part, her first impressions were rarely wrong. Wesley was British and was quite attractive in a bookish librarian sort of way and married, a recent newlywed actually. And the other man’s name was Charles, but went by his last name, Gunn. He was quite striking, with ebony skin that reminded Buffy of a luscious bowl of melted chocolate, and towered over her nearly as much as Riley did. His smile, however, was warm and inviting and erased any possibly feelings of alarm she may have harbored. Glancing at them once more, Buffy decided she was in capable enough hands and settled back against the seat, took out her IPOD and got comfortable.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Man, Wes, I cannot believe we are working this job! I actually got to meet and protect that fine ass Faith! What are the odds?” said Gunn, who had claimed a seat at the rear of the plane with Wesley and Lorne. “Spike would be so jealous right now. You remember how he acted when he saw Buffy. I’ve never seen him so out of it! Fred tried to talk to him several times and he just ignored her. That man ain’t ever ignored Fred. Hell, I thought those two would have ended up together instead of you marrying her.”

Wesley just stared at his rambling coworker, more than used to Gunn’s ability to blather on and on until something else came along and captured his attention. Rolling his eyes, Wesley kept his face turned to face the window and said with a sour tone, “Please do not ever engage me in a conversation regarding anything involving Spike and Fred in any other relationship than the type they have now.” That particular topic had always bothered him, but not enough to act on it. His wife had assured him on more than one occasion of sensing his jealousy that nothing had, nor ever would, happen between her and Spike. “And, yes, he did seem quite enamored with Buffy. Though I gathered the impression that he knew her from somewhere before.”

“Ya know, you could be right about that. Something about how he talked about her did seem different…probably because he wasn’t being all rude and crude with the lewd comments.” Gunn replied after considering Wesley’s comment.

“Who’s this Spike?” Lorne asked when there was a moment of silence between the two men. He listened with an eager ear as Wesley explained that he was an old friend of Angel’s who sometimes works with them. “Captain Peroxide only steps in when the shit hits the fan and he don’t roll out of bed for chump change neither.” Gunn chimed in with a shake of the head and only a fraction of jealousy tinging his words.

“Because of his hair. He bleaches it until it’s nearly completely white, so Angel crowned him with the moniker.” Wesley explained when Lorne questioned the nickname, Captain Peroxide. “I personally don’t understand why anyone would want their hair to look that way, but the ladies seem to fancy it well enough.”

Lorne immediately thought back to the night he saw Buffy run from the women’s bathroom at Caritas, disheveled and obviously upset, and interestingly enough she been followed out of the restroom by a handsome man all in leather with a shock of platinum hair. He had never asked Buffy about what happened that night since she never mentioned it, figuring if Buffy wanted to talk about it she would. But, as he reclined in his seat and sipped his Sea Breeze, Lorne wondered if this Spike was in fact the mystery man from that night.

Chapter Text

“Good Morning Blondie Bear! It’s about time you woke up!” Spike groaned at the shrill shriek that seemed to sear through his brain and felt his bed shake, signaling the person who’d just screamed at a pitch only slightly lower than what only dogs could hear had just crawled into the bed with him. Cursing under his breath, he rolled over and poked his curly head out beneath the black silk pillow that covered his head and glared at the perky blonde perched on the bedside beside him.

Shutting his eyes tightly, he tried to recall the events of the night before. Everything was a blur, thanks to the massive amounts of scotch he had consumed and he saw only flashes of the night, surrounded by large gaps of hazy nothingness. Over the past several weeks, he’d had been spending far too much time in bars and clubs, drowning his sorrow in one bottle after another of liquor since he the night he’d found not only the woman his heart, and body, ached for, but found out that the ogre that had run into him in the hallway that night was Buffy’s fiancé. At some point during the previous night, he had apparently ventured out of his flat in search of companionship and the curvy blonde on the bed next to him was proof that he’d found it. Spike cautiously opened one eye and peeked at the woman who had now crawled under the blankets with him and was gazing at him intently. Spike had no idea who she was, though there was something vaguely familiar about her. Considering himself lucky since she wasn’t hard on the eyes, Spike ignored her pout, rolled over and went back to sleep,

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Somewhere over the Midwest, flying over one of the many states she’d heard of but couldn’t point out on a map, Buffy was fast asleep and snoring lightly, when her peaceful slumber was suddenly disrupted by a bout of turbulence. Stretching her arms above her head, she yawned and looked around the plane to find that she was the only one that had been awakened by the sudden rattling throughout the plane. Not that she blamed them, since Serenity had been on tour for a little over two months and everyone was utterly exhausted from the nonstop excitement. While Buffy was overjoyed at the response the band was receiving from both the fans and the press, she had to admit that she was already itching for a break. June was rapidly approaching and she was eager for Dawn’s summer visit to arrive. She had never imagined that seeing her pest of a kid sister would make her smile, but now that Dawn lived so far away, Buffy missed her dearly and couldn’t wait to spend some quality time with her.

Her mother, Giles and Dawn had flown to Manhattan to see the band perform a couple of weeks ago, on the weekend of Buffy’s twenty-fifth birthday. Their visit had been a complete surprise and she didn’t know they were there until she saw her family and Riley on the front row. After the show, everyone had gone out to eat to celebrate Buffy’s birthday, but had had to turn in almost immediately afterwards since it was so late.

After reluctantly saying goodnight to her family, Buffy had returned to her hotel room with Riley for some much needed private time so that they could discuss their relationship; something Buffy had been agonizing over since she’d left him to go on tour. It was there, in their hotel room, that Riley had fallen to his knees and wrapped his arms around Buffy’s waist and pleaded for another chance. Tears had ran down his face as he admitted that he was terrified of losing her and had not meant to treat her so badly, that he had let his jealousy over her sudden success eat away at him until he had snapped and taken out his own feelings of inadequacy on her. As the early morning light had slowly filtered through the curtains, Buffy had felt her walls crumble as she forgave him once again.

Since then, Buffy had come to the difficult decision that while she wanted to be with Riley, she felt that they needed to postpone the wedding for a few months until she truly believed they had worked through all of their unresolved issues. She had thought about telling him over the phone on several occasions, but felt that her decision was something he at least deserved to be told in person. She had no doubt in her mind that Riley was going to be upset by her decision and her resolve had faltered for a moment when she worried about how he was going to react to the news.

Now, as her plane grew closer to arriving in another airport in another state that wasn’t home, the nerves in her stomach grew from tiny little butterflies to condors simply from thinking about the issues between herself and Riley; fluttering in her stomach so violently that she felt nauseous. Sighing, Buffy leaned back in her seat and stared out the window and wondered when had everything gotten so difficult.

The end of May came and went, bringing with it the month of June and signaling the end of the tour as well as the arrival of Dawn. Conveniently, Buffy’s plane was scheduled to land in Los Angeles one hour after her sister’s flight from England. She quickly loaded a cart with her luggage and set off to meet her little sister at their prearranged destination near the coffee bar.

Buffy spotted her lanky kid sister lounging across two chairs reading a thick novel and sipping on a latte, and wondered just when her baby sister had grown into a young woman. However, no matter how old she got, Dawn would forever bury her nose in a book and let the world around her slip away. She was so engrossed in the book in her hands, that Dawn never noticed her sister creep up behind her. With catlike reflexes, Buffy leaned around Dawn and deftly snatched the book from her unsuspecting sister’s hands. Dawn shrieked and jumped from her seat, somehow managing to only slosh the coffee in her hand, instead of spilling it completely.

“Geez, Buffy,” Dawn grumbled, while using the lone napkin sitting on the bench beside her to wipe up the droplets of coffee on her hand. “Is there a reason you hate my hands and want to burn them off?!”

 

“I’m sorry, Dawnie, I couldn’t help it! You were like totally in outer space!” Buffy apologized once Dawn was finished wiping off her hand. With a smile on her face, she wrapped her arms around Dawn’s petite frame and enveloped her in a bear hug, while apologizing profusely for not only scaring her, but for causing her to spill her coffee. “I’ll buy you a new coffee if I caused you to spill too much.”

“No, it’s okay. It was only a little bit.” Dawn grudgingly replied, instantly forgiving her older sister since she knew Buffy hadn’t meant any harm. Leaning over, she picked up her carry-on and slung it over her shoulder, before grabbing hold of the handle of her suitcase. Cutting a glance over her shoulder at Buffy, she asked innocently, “Where is everyone else?” Secretly, Dawn only wanted to know the whereabouts of Xander, since she had developed a huge crush on the humorous yet handsome drummer during their trip to New York.

“Oh, they decided to stay behind in Vegas for the weekend after last night’s show.” Buffy explained, as she loaded her sister’s bags onto the cart with hers; completely unaware of the intentions behind Dawn’s question. “Now, let’s get outta here! It’s late and I still need a shower and a very large bowl of the ice cream I pray is waiting for us in the freezer!”

Exhaustion finally caught up with Buffy on the cab ride home, causing her eyelids to droop as she fought to stay awake and listen to Dawn babble about school. It had taken several nudges from her sister to wake Buffy up before they arrived at home. Still groggy, she scooted from the backseat with a loud yawn and paid the cabbie after he dropped their numerous bags in the foyer. After she showed Dawn to the downstairs guest bedroom, Buffy left her sister to unpack and get settled, while she headed upstairs to the master bedroom for a much needed shower and change of clothes.

Halfway up the stairs it hit her that she forgot to remind Riley that she’d be home a day early, with Dawn in tow. Cursing herself quietly for her lack of memory, she eased open the bedroom door and hoped she didn’t wake him up. Quietly, Buffy slipped into the darkened bedroom and began to tiptoe across the thick carpet heading to the bathroom. She’d only made it a couple of steps into her journey when she heard what sounded like Riley moaning, followed by a sensuous, throaty and unmistakably feminine laugh. Buffy stopped in her tracks, spun back towards the door and marched across the carpet she’d just walked over to angrily flip on the overhead lights. She felt sick to her stomach when she saw Riley sprawled across the bed, clad in only blue jeans and boots, with a trashy looking brunette sprawled between his legs; her head bobbing up and down vigorously, despite the sudden flood of light in the bedroom.

“What the fuck!” Riley shouted when the lights came on, blinking his eyes rapidly against the bright light shining down on him from above. With squinty eyes, he finally noticed Buffy glaring at him from the doorway and quickly pushed himself off the bed, causing the whore in his lap to slide to the floor with a thud, while trying to clutch the bedsheet to her exposed chest. “Buffy! Baby, what are you doing here?” With his long stride, Riley crossed the distance between them quickly, while trying to stuff his now flaccid member back in to his open pants.

”Probably because I live here?” Buffy screeched and stepped away from Riley, slapping at his outstretched arms. Shaking her head, she backed up towards the bedroom door and glared at him with disgust marring her beautiful face; tears staining her red cheeks in anger. “You know, I was intending on just pushing back the wedding date, but to Hell with that! We are finished!” With shaking hands, she tore the diamond ring from her left hand and threw it at Riley, hitting him hard in the middle of his bulging chest. Without waiting for a response, she turned and started out the door, only to be yanked backwards by his massive hands, the moment hers reached the gleaming silver doorknob. Yelping from the painful hold he had on her, Buffy struggled against his strength, but failed to wrench her arm from his meaty grasp.

”Where do you think you’re going? This isn’t over until I say it’s over! You don’t get to leave me!” Gazing intently into her frightened eyes, his hands wrapped around both of her thin arms until Buffy was sure they were going to snap from the force in his grip. His handsome features twisted, and his eyes flashed with anger. “You belong to me.”

Buffy wriggled frantically in his strong embrace, trying to escape, but it was the swift thrust of her knee that connected with his balls that caused him to cry out in pain and loosen his hold on her arms enough that she could escape. Buffy jerked open the bedroom door and stumbled out into the hallway, freedom only a few steps away, but completely out of her grasp. She’d barely taken two steps before Riley’s hand wrapped around her ponytail and roughly pulled her away from the steps she had been so close to descending. With his massive hand holding on to the base of her ponytail, he shoved her face first into the wall, directly in to the decorative mirror he had hung for her only a week before she’d left on tour; sending what shards of glass that hadn’t lodged into her skin flying across the carpet. Warm liquid trickled down Buffy’s face, and she barely recognized that it was her blood as it mixed with her tears, causing her vision to blur further. Before she could regain her balance, Buffy felt Riley slip his hands around her slender neck and tighten his hold, until the scream she wanted to let loose came out as a whisper.

“You can never leave me Buffy! I won’t let you.” Riley screamed inches away from her bleeding face, the scent of alcohol on his hot breath caused her stomach to roil; the concussion eating away at the edge of her consciousness didn’t help the situation. Enraged with anger and despair, he shook her violently as he held onto her throat, tossing her around as easily as one might fling a stuffed doll around. Buffy felt herself drifting away, the pain blossoming in her brain, as the darkness slipped in and took over. Buffy’s vision went black as Dawn stealthily climbed up the stairs with a vase in her hands, had she saw what her little sister was doing she would have screamed at her to run to safety.

 

With as much strength as she could muster, Dawn slammed the heavy crystal vase into Riley’s temple. He screamed in agony and released his hold on Buffy’s neck and Dawn watched, wide eyed with terror, as her sister’s limp body dropped unceremoniously to the floor. “Buffy!’ She cried out in fear as she rushed forward to help her unconscious sibling. Unfortunately, with her attention on her sister, Dawn momentarily forgot about Riley. She never reached her fallen sister, as her movement toward Buffy was intercepted by an infuriated Riley, his face a mask of rage with blood seeping down his cheek, and she was tossed down the stairs. White hot pain seared through her as she bounced down the wooden stairs like a rag doll, landing on the marble floor with a sharp crack, Dawn laid there unmoving.

Unconcerned for the annoying brat, Riley immediately turned his attentions back to Buffy who was slowly regaining consciousness and was struggling to get up to help Dawn. With a swift kick, his boot connected with her chest and knocked her backwards. The pain in her side was unbearable as Buffy gasped for air through a flood of tears, but sheer determination had her pulling her body back onto her hands and knees so that she could help Dawn.

“Why?” Buffy whimpered, thick blood filled her mouth and she spat it out onto the white carpet beneath her hands. “Why are you doing this, Riley?” The man who crouched beside her was no longer recognizable, his once handsome face now contorted with hatred and fury. She groaned in pain when Riley wrapped his hands around her throat once again and pulled her up off the ground.

“I won’t let you leave me.” Riley whispered menacingly as his meaty hands closed around her bruised neck once more; his breath hot on her face as he pulled her close. “I would rather see you dead than not have you with me, Buffy.”

Buffy finally succumbed to the pain and lack of air, as she slipped back into the darkness, stars floating behind her closed eyes. She never felt the blows that connected with her face and body, the force of Riley’s massive fists pounding away at her flesh, while screaming like a crazed beast, “You’re mine. You can’t leave.”

Downstairs, Dawn crept across the foyer as quietly as possible. Using her uninjured arm, she pressed the panic button on the alarm keypad and prayed that help would arrive before it was too late. She then hurried into the hallway, clutching her broken arm to her body and hobbling from the pain, and huddled in the darkness, trying to hide from the maniac upstairs. Peeking out of her hiding spot when silence filled the air, she saw Riley sprint down the stairs and run out the front door, quickly followed by a scantily clad woman that Dawn did not know. She sighed in relief when she heard a car start and pull from the drive. Hesitantly, Dawn crept from the hallway, slammed the front door and flipped the lock, and ran upstairs to check on Buffy, whom she found lying in a bloodied heap on the top landing. Leaning over her broken sister, Dawn was thankful to see she was still breathing, although the breaths were shallow and shaky. With tears falling from her fear filled eyes, Dawn lay down beside Buffy and waited for help to arrive.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

By the time Buffy’s eyes fluttered open the sun was setting, well over a day had passed without any response from the battered young woman; her swollen and bruised eyes filled with tears when the pain from her injuries made itself known. Noticing she was awake, Joyce rushed to her daughter’s bed crying in relief, while Giles excused himself and went to find the doctor to let him know that Buffy was awake. When he returned, Angel and Lorne crept into the room behind the doctor hesitantly, the possibility of getting in trouble by the doctor for their presence in the ICU greatly outweighed by their concern for Buffy.

After she was checked out, Buffy was filled in on the extent of her injuries, a long list that ranged from a severe concussion, two broken ribs, a broken nose and collarbone. Not to mention the numerous bruises around her neck, where Riley had choked her and come astonishingly close to crushing her larynx, and had blackened both of her eyes to the point they were nearly swollen completely shut, and had left several deep lacerations on her face that required stitches. However, it was the broken arm that he had given to her baby sister that upset Buffy the most.

Once the doctor left, Angel and Lorne asked to speak to Buffy privately. Giles reluctantly agreed and ushered Joyce and Dawn from the room, stating that they would head to the cafeteria for a bite to eat. Angel grimly gave Buffy the rundown of what had occurred after she had passed out, letting her know how brave Dawn had been in getting help. He went on to tell her that Riley was still unaccounted for and that he was frightened for her safety. Buffy nodded in agreement, knowing Riley was likely to come back and finish what he’d started, but couldn’t get the words out because her throat was so sore.

“Buffy,” Angel started, tentatively glancing at Lorne, “I know you are going to argue with me, but we have all discussed the situation and have decided that you need around the clock security.” She opened her mouth in protest, not wanting to cause a lot of trouble, as well as extra attention, but was stopped when Angel held up his hand and said, “No arguments, Buffy. Your mother and Rupert agree with us on this. It’s either a bodyguard or going with them back to London. Now, I have already called a close friend of mine that specializes in a more hands on approach who has agreed to take the job…at a discounted rate since he technically still owes me a favor.” Which, Angel thought to himself, was a good thing since he knew Buffy would never be able to afford his normal rate otherwise.

 

Just because she knew Angel was right, didn’t mean she had to like the situation; having a baby sitter follow her around non-stop wasn’t on her list of fun things to do. “Fine.” Buffy turned her head towards the window and sighed in resignation. She grimaced in pain as a searing jolt shot through her body. “When’s he going to be here?” She asked, hating the hoarse sound of her voice and how weak she sounded.

“I went ahead and called him this morning and lined everything up. You know, he should be here by now,” Angel stated, glancing down at his watch to check the time. He was relieved that Buffy hadn’t put up a fight, although he knew her well enough to know that she wasn’t pleased with the situation. “I’ll just go check and see.” Excusing himself, Angel opened the door and left the room.

Buffy continued to stare blankly out the window; tears shimmered in the slits of her puffy, swollen eyes. The saddened expression on her bruised face made Lorne’s heart break all over again; he felt helpless, at a complete loss of words and for the first time he didn’t know what to do for his friend. Lorne pulled a chair up close to Buffy’s bedside and sat down next to her. Reaching out, he tenderly took hold of her hand and held it lightly in his own, blinking his eyes rapidly to hold back the tears that stung in his eyes and simply sat there in silence, offering whatever comfort he could to Buffy with just his presence.

Nearly half an hour later, Angel reappeared, his large frame filling the doorway and blocking the light flowing in from the hallway. Buffy turned her head as he shifted to the side, stifling the groan of pain that threatened to slip out, as the man standing behind Angel stepped in to the room. She was only vaguely aware of Angel speaking, introducing the man he’d hired to protect her, as she stared in shock at the person walking across the room. Midway through his introduction, Buffy shook her head side to side slowly and cut Angel off, whispering, “It’s you.”

“ ‘Lo, luv.”

Chapter Text

Spike closed the remaining distance between them to stand next to Buffy’s bed. Trying hard to control the expression on his face, not wanting to cringe at the sight of her and make Buffy feel worse, but doing so was difficult, especially since his blood was boiling with rage at the sight of her once beautiful face, now battered and bruised, and damn near unrecognizable. Although Angel had given him the gory details over the telephone, it took seeing her in person to truly get the full effect of what had been done to Buffy. He choked back the flood of emotions rising inside and gently eased a hip on to the edge of her bed next to her.

Buffy couldn’t believe that he was there, sitting on the edge of her bed and staring down at her with bright blue eyes full of pity. After all this time, so many months of wondering who he was, where he was and if she would ever see him again, it took damn near being killed by her fiancé to locate him; albeit unintentionally. With a deep sigh, Buffy felt her resolve shatter a moment before tears spilled over her thick lashes and fell onto her bruised cheeks. Pain, hot and sharp, shot through her as her body started to shake uncontrollably, causing her broken ribs to throb and sear in burning agony. Unable to control her emotions, she simply fell apart. Without having to ask for comfort, he pulled her gently into his arms and let her cry against his chest. Buffy could feel the warmth of his breath as he whispered in her ear, the rumble of his voice deep in his chest and the promise in his words as he murmured to her that everything was going to be all right. Somehow, it didn’t matter that they didn’t even know one another, all that mattered was that they were together now.

Lorne moved from the foot of the bed across the room to stand next to Angel, who was glowering at the blonde couple holding on to one another tightly. Nudging the brooding man in the side, Lorne ushered his longtime friend out the door and in to the hallway in order to allow the couple to have some privacy. Once they were in the hallway, Lorne had barely eased the door shut when Angel asked, “Do you have any idea what the hell just happened in there?”

With a knowing smile plastered across his handsome features, truly happy in spite of the sorrow that had plagued the day, Lorne chuckled at the sight of Angel pacing back and forth in front of the doorway. Lorne spread his hands out in front of his torso, palms up and shrugged. “They finally found one another.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Angel barked, halting his nervous pacing for the moment to glower at Lorne.

“I don’t know the whole story, Angelcakes, just bits and pieces I’ve managed to put together on my own.” Lorne lowered himself into a nearby chair and motioned for Angel to do this same, not at all surprised when he refused and started pacing once more. Shrugging, it was up to Angel if he wanted to wear holes in the soles of off the fantastic leather boots on his feet. “Anyway, I gather they met at my bar sometime last summer. There may or may not have been some heavy petting in the women’s bathroom, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that there was at least something going on in there based on the disarray of clothing on both their parts when they exited.” He paused and made eye contact with Angel, and judged by the look on Buffy’s former beau he was none too pleased to hear about Buffy’s sexual conquests. Lorne smoothed out an imaginary wrinkle from the front of his puce suit pants and continued with his explanation, in spite of Angel’s brooding expression. “Seems that after that night our turtle doves kept missing one another, never knowing where to find the other. Your men, Gunn and Wesley, mentioned that Spike saw one of her concerts a couple of months ago, before the tour, but realized he’d missed his chance with her thanks to that Neanderthal she was dating. He left without even talking to her.” Lorne clucked his tongue in disapproval and tried to find a smidgeon of comfort in the hard plastic chair that had clearly been crafted and sold in Hell. A memory popped in to his brain and he snapped his fingers, before sharing it with Angel. “I did hear from Faith that the song that shot them to the top of the charts, that one Buffy wrote a while back? Allegedly she wrote it about your man in there, although Faith could never get her to confirm that suspicion. Although, from what we just saw in there, I’d say there isn’t a doubt in my pretty little mind now as to who that song was about.”

Angel stopped pacing, freezing in the middle of the hallway so abruptly that he almost caused a nurse to run straight into him. Mumbling a quick apology without bothering to make eye contact with the nurse, he mulled over what Lorne had just said. While he would never admit to anyone else, Angel had mistakenly assumed that Taken Over Me had been written about him. Hell, Buffy had never been involved with anyone else after their relationship had ended and while that had occurred only a few days before they graduated high school and they had both moved on, there had been a sliver of a thought that maybe Buffy had been harboring some feelings for him over the years since she had never dated anyone else seriously…at least until Riley. Not that Angel wasn’t head over in heels in love with his wife, but the thought that maybe Buffy still pinned for him had fluffed up his ego a bit. ‘Man, I’m such an idiot.’ Angel berated himself mentally as he slid into a chair by Lorne with a defeated slouch. “Why in the hell didn’t Spike say anything to me when I told him who the client was I wanted him to work with?” He asked, confusion furrowing his brow as he frowned at Lorne, who offered only a shrug in replace of an actual answer and smirked like he knew what was really on Angel’s mind.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Inside the dimly lit hospital room, the lights on the lowest setting at the behest of Buffy, Spike held her while she cried against his chest. He cursed the Gods or whomever controlled fate for throwing this curve ball at him. When Angel had called for his help with his friend, Buffy, Spike’s spirits had soared upon hearing her name and had stupidly assumed that it was a run of the mill security detail that for some reason, Angel’s company couldn’t handle personally. While on the phone, a knot had formed deep in the pit of his stomach and his blood had started to boil in anger. After hearing all of the unpleasant details, Spike had noticed the passion in Angel’s voice that led him to believe that the connection to the client at hand was far more than simply professional. Curious, Spike had asked how Angel was connected to Buffy, a long forgotten memory nagged at the edge of his mind, and realized that Buffy was the young woman who had broken his friend’s heart and had ultimately set the events in motion that had allowed Angel and Spike to meet. How strange that their lives had been connected this whole time and yet, they had never met before that night at Caritas.

While gently stroking her hair as Buffy continued to weep softly in his arms, Spike let his mind wander as he recalled the night he had met Angel. He had been at Willie’s, a seedy bar on the other side of the tracks, drowning his sorrows in whiskey after professing his undying love for Cecily, the attractive girl that sat next to him in class. The curly haired brunette had laughed cruelly at the poem he’d slaved away creating specifically for her, his muse, the beautiful Cecily who’d captured his heart the first day of class. Shattered, Spike had fled the campus and escaped to the less than stellar establishment to lick his wounds and forget the whole incident in the bottom of a bottle of whiskey.

About halfway through the bottle of amber colored cheap whiskey, Angel had sauntered in to the bar with a broody expression and claimed the seat next to Spike at the dingy. At first, they had sat side by side in silence, taking shot after shot of liquor to ease their own separate sorrows, but eventually their drunken state had led them to conversation. After sharing his own pathetic story of heartache, Angel had shared his own tale of woe, regaling Spike with the story of how he’d been kicked to the curb by his girlfriend who had stabbed him in the heart and sentenced him to a life that felt like Hell; although, he had deserved it for being a downright bastard to her for months. Once the show and tell portion of their fledgling relationship was over, Spike had drunkenly proclaimed Angel to be his new best friend and they had proceeded to both swear off women. Since that night, they had, in fact, stayed close friends, but their promise to avoid women had faltered slightly.

After arriving at the hospital, Spike’s original plan had been to casually saunter into her room as though nothing had happened between them the previous summer, not wanting to risk the chance of upsetting Angel. Of course, after seeing Buffy, the beautiful golden haired goddess of his dreams, broken and bruised and utterly defeated, his resolve had crumbled and sent his original plan down the drain. Spike hadn’t missed the look of surprise and flicker of betrayal in Angel’s eyes before his friend had been escorted out of the room by Lorne to give Buffy privacy and while he hated to upset one of his oldest friends, there was nothing in the world that would have kept him from her at that moment.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Sniffling, Buffy pulled away from his embrace and tenderly wiped away the residual tears clinging to her lashes. Embarrassed at how easily she had fallen apart, how quickly she had fallen in to the arms of a stranger, she felt her cheeks redden with shame beneath the ginger touch of her fingers as she swiped away the tears on her cheeks. She attempted to cover up a cringe with a tentative smile, but failed miserably from the pain that flared up from the simple movement and ended up grimacing at Spike instead. “Thanks for the shoulder. Sorry about getting your shirt all wet.” She finally managed to say softly to him, after several moments of awkward silence. Glancing up into his indigo eyes that held only pity and concern for her now, instead of the heat and passion she’d recalled on many nights since their interlude the previous summer. “I don’t even know your name.”

“Spike, I go by Spike.” With the softest touch he could manage, he brushed aside a lock of limp golden hair that had tumbled down over Buffy’s forehead and tucked it behind her ear. “And, don’t worry about the shirt, love. Nothing a good washing won’t take care of.”

Buffy let her gaze linger over Spike’s face, his perfect features doing nothing but reminding her that her own was a hideous disaster. Ashamed, Buffy turned away from him and let her hair fall down like a curtain to cover her face from his curious gaze. She hated that the only reason he was finally in her life was because of the bad decisions she had made regarding her love life. “I don’t want you to see me this way.” She murmured softly as she scooted back up against the pillows so that she could lay back down. Tears stung in her eyes, she sniffled and felt them leak out to slide down her battered black and blue cheeks. “I need to be alone now…please?”

Torn, Spike didn’t know what to do. He was afraid that if he left she might disappear again, although he knew that wasn’t exactly logic speaking since she was under protective custody until Riley was captured, and he hated the thought of leaving her alone and the possibility of her fiancé showing up while he wasn’t around her. But, on the other hand, he didn’t want to risk having Buffy upset with him for refusing to leave, not after he’d finally found her. Hesitantly, he reached out to stroke her hair and felt sick when she flinched, as though there was any possible way he could ever hurt her. Pulling his hand back to simply rest on top of hers, paying extra attention to not to disturb any of the tubes that were attached to her. “Right then, yeah…I’ll just be out in the hallway.” Spike finally said in response to her request, surprising even himself with how calm his voice sounded when it felt like he was screaming inside. “I won’t be far if you need me, pet.” Easing off the bed, Spike crossed the room in a handful of purposeful strides and opened the door. He paused briefly before leaving, looking back over his shoulder to where Buffy had returned to staring out the window. When she failed to return his look, Spike slipped quietly out of the room.

As the door closed behind him, Spike slumped into the chair nearest to Buffy’s door, his head resting in his hands. Seeing Buffy that way pained him, not just the stitches and bruising that marred her beautiful features, but he hated the absence of light that had seemed to radiate from her when she was on stage, and in his arms. While he had seen numerous accounts of violent behavior and the damage left behind in its wake, he would never be able to understand or stomach that violence when it was unleashed on a woman or child. It truly took a cowardly man to do something like what had been done to Buffy.

Spike had no idea how long he’d been sitting in that uncomfortable chair, slumped over with his elbows resting on his thighs and his head cradled in his hands, staring at the speckled linoleum floor. It was only when the voices in the hallway grew louder and bodies started to fill in the space around him that Spike looked up to find Angel had returned with three people in tow; an older couple with grief stricken expressions and a young woman with doe eyes and cast covering one arm. He could only assume they were Buffy’s family and Spike straightened in his seat upon the realization.””

“Spike, how’s she doing?” Angel inquired the moment that Spike raised his head and their worried gazes connected.

“Wants to be alone for a bit, seems to be holding up … as well as can be expected and all.” Spike replied with a sigh as he stood up from the chair and stretched, his joints groaning painfully in protest. “You heard any news ‘bout Riley?”

“No. The police have a unit watching the house to see if he’ll go back home, but so far not a peep out of him. There’s no activity on his credit cards, no recent calls on his cell phone. So far, it seems as though the bastard has disappeared.” Angel reported bitterly, the hatred for the man in question flashing in his chocolate brown eyes. With a tilt of the head and sweep of the arm, he gestured towards the trio to his right and made the necessary introductions. “Spike, this is Buffy’s family. Her mom Joyce, and stepfather, Rupert Giles” He paused long enough for Spike to exchange handshakes with the couple, before motioning towards the petite brunette next to them. “And, this is Dawn, her little sister, who we can thank for her quick thinking, which got help to them as soon as possible.”

“He did that to you?” Spike asked and realized that the tone of his voice was harsher than he’d meant for it to be at the sight of Dawn’s expression. Softening his tone, he tried again, “Did he hurt you like that, pet?”

“Yeah, he wasn’t counting on me being there. Buffy forgot to call him and tell him she’d be in a day early and that I’d be tagging along.” Dawn glanced down at the bright white, fresh cast that covered her arm from mid-bicep all the way down to her fingertips. She lifted her gaze and met Spike’s, tears sparkled in her eyes and she blinked rapidly to attempt to keep them from falling. “This doesn’t compare to what that monster did to my sister though. I sincerely hope he’s lying at the bottom of a ravine right now and very much dead.”

“Me, too, Little Bit.” Spike let his gaze drift down to Dawn’s cast once more and was glad that the injury wasn’t as bad as it could have been had the kid not reacted quickly to the attack. Seeing the injury, however, reminded Spike that he was there in a professional capacity and not in a pleasure one, although he’d rather it be right reverse. Slipping into work mode, he turned to Angel and asked, “Buffy was living with that git, yeah? Where’s she staying when she’s released? Surely she’s not going back to that house?”

“She was only renting that house she lived in before Riley’s.” Joyce informed Spike, her right hand fidgeted with the dangly bit of the necklace she wore, a nervous gesture that he had seen on more than one occasion. Realizing her eldest daughter didn’t have a safe residence to return to, she added, “Buffy can come back to the hotel with us, we could see about getting another room? A suite maybe?”

“That will work for now, Joyce.” Angel nodded in agreement and reached in to his pocket to pull out his cell phone with plans on contacting the hotel directly for Buffy’s parents and handling the details for them. “Although, she’s going to need something more permanent eventually; a place that Riley would never think to look for her.”

“She could stay at my flat.” Spike offered, amazingly nonchalant despite the fact that the mere thought of Buffy in his home, in his bed, had his heart skipping a beat. He then remembered that there was already a blonde occupying his bed, one who was currently at his apartment and had all but moved in permanently. Out of loneliness, Spike had tolerated her presence since she was almost tolerable, so long as her mouth was shut, and was always up for a bit of a tussle between the bedsheets. Plus, having her around eased the loneliness he’d felt since Drusilla had walked out and it kept his mind off of Buffy. Spike made a mental note to nip that situation in the bud as soon as possible and quickly backtracked his offer to have Buffy stay with him. “No, that won’t work. Harmony is there.”

“I have a place in mind, Spike. Cordy’s parents have a place on the beach around Malibu. Very private, has security gates and cameras.” Angel interjected as he flipped open the phone in his hand and started scrolling through the contacts. “I’ll have to give them a call and arrange it, but I don’t for see them having an issue with it. Have you had a chance to get your things together?”

“Not really, mate. I was out of the house when you rang earlier. Mind staying with Buffy for a bit while I run home?” He replied, itching to get going so he could hurry back to her bedside. “Of course, I fully intend on camping out here at the hospital as long as she has to stay.”

“Her doctor said she’d have to stay for a couple of days just to be on the safe side, due to the head injury.” Joyce chimed in. While she would be eternally grateful that Angel was doing everything in his power to keep her baby girl safe, she wanted nothing more than to burst in to that hospital room and bundle Buffy up and take her back to England with the rest of the family, where she could keep her own watchful eye on her daughter.

"Joyce, I’m sure Buffy’s going to come through all this just fine. She’s a fighter.” Angel stated, taking in the mounting worry written all over Joyce’s face. “Plus, Spike’s the best there is when it comes to dealing with matters like this. She’ll be in good hands, I promise. Spike, as for you, head on home and get whatever you’ll need to bunk here for the time being. I’ll talk with the charge nurse and arrange everything. I can stay as long as I am needed, too. Cordy and Connor are at her parents’ house.” Angel paused for a moment and scrubbed his hands over his tired face. “I’m sure Joyce, Rupert and Dawn would like to get some rest. Why don’t you guys go on in and say goodnight to Buffy? I need to talk business with Spike.” Buffy’s family nodded in agreement, the matching expressions of exhaustion etched on their faces giving away the fact that several hours of sleep would be greatly beneficial for the health and overall mood.

Dawn let her parents enter the room first, before she turned back to look at Spike. While his wiry frame and spiked bleached locks didn’t exactly strike fear into her, she was more than aware of the qualifications the man possessed, having overheard Angel talking to her parent’s about him earlier. She pinned him with a serious stare and said, “You take care of her, ok? If anything happens…”

“No worries, I’ve heard about your protective streak. I’m not in any hurry to get on your bad side, Niblet.” Spike replied in all seriousness, cutting Dawn off before she could make her promise of bodily harm in the even that he let her sister get injured, or worse, on his watch. He chuckled softly as Dawn gave him a stern look before disappearing into her sister’s darkened hospital room.

Once the trio was in the hospital room, fully out of earshot, Angel turned towards Spike and crossed his arms over his chest. Angel’s jaw flexed and his eyes hardened as he glared down at his friend, a man that he’d shared countless drinks with and traded war stories with, both in the field and in the matters of love, and asked, “You want to tell me what the story is with you and Buff?”

Chapter Text

In the early hours of morning, long before the sun had begun to think about rising, Buffy woke from her morphine induced sleep, sweating and breathing hard, which caused sharp pains to sear in her chest. Nightmares had plagued her since the ordeal with Riley, filling her slumber with memories of pain and blood, and leaving her exhausted and frightened. She gingerly pulled herself up in the bed, the fitful sleep had caused her to slide down and tangle in the covers, and glanced around the dimly lit room to and was startled by the shadow of a person sitting in one of the uncomfortable looking chairs in the corner. Squinting her eyes, Buffy realized it was Spike and gasped lightly with surprise when her eyes fully adjusted to the low light and found him staring at her intently.

She watched as he pushed out of the chair and stalked across the room towards her in silence. Worry filled his gaze and furrowed his brow as he stared down at her, and for a split moment Buffy actually worried about her appearance. “Seem to be having trouble sleeping, yeah? How’re you feeling, pet? Need me to fetch the nurse?”

“Well, that’s a silly question,” She murmured in response as she softly smoothed her hands over her hair, pushing what felt like a rat’s nest back away from her face. She would kill for a shower and thorough hair washing, but knew that wasn’t in her immediate future. Giving up on trying to alleviate the disaster that was her hair do at the moment, she shrugged at Spike’s question and immediately winced with pain from the simple movement. Sighing, she glanced up at him with defeat in her eyes and said, “I feel like my crazy fiancé beat the living hell out of me.” She forced a smile at the comment with hopes of lightening the situation, but only succeeded in producing another flare up of pain. “Ouch. No smiley for Buffy any time soon, huh?”

“Want me to call the nurse? Get something for the pain?” Spike asked again as the look of concern deepened on his handsome face, a face that had somehow dulled in her memory, but was now right there and reminding Buffy just how beautiful this man was. Not classically handsome, no, but there was something there…hidden in the sharp planes of his cheekbones, full sensuous lips and icy blue eyes, that caused tingles of excitement low in her belly, despite her injuries.

“What? Huh?” Buffy stammered when she realized that she had been staring at his face, losing herself in his handsome features, instead of answering him and he’d tried his question again. After his third attempt at getting her a nurse to bring her something for pain, Buffy shook her head lightly from side to side and declined. “I’ve basically been asleep since I got here. I’d like to stay in awake-land for a little while.” She didn’t mention the fact that the nightmares she had every time she closed her eyes were becoming unboreable and she would rather stay awake in pain rather than to fall asleep any time soon. In a small voice, she asked, “Have they found him yet?”

Shaking his head, Spike wished he could offer her some comfort by saying that Riley was behind bars, and hated that he had to tell Buffy otherwise. “No, pet, they haven’t located him just yet.” Reaching out, he took her small hand in his, mindful of the tubes running out of the back of it, and held on lightly. “Don’t worry about him. I won’t ever let him hurt you again, love.” His voice was low, full of meaning and promise he wished Buffy believed, but despite the slow nod of her head, the expression in her eyes told another story. She clearly wasn’t convinced of his ability to protect her.

Tentatively, Buffy raised her hand to her face and gently caressed the crisscrossed stitches that snaked across her eyebrow. She had a flash of the stitching on Frankenstein and prayed she looked slightly better than him, but grimaced at the overall mental image. Dropping her hand to her lap, Buffy switched conversation channels and said, “I’m glad that we finally got to meet. I…I just wish it was in a different situation. I hate that you’ve got to see me this way, looking all Frankenstein-ish.” She had barely gotten the comment out, when her lip started to quiver and tears starting burning in her eyes. Buffy bowed her head and stared down at the mint green blanket to keep Spike from seeing the sparkle of tears in her eyes.

Taking a chance, Spike eased a hip down on to the edge of her bed, but refrained from giving in to the burning need to lay down beside her and wrap her in his arms. Instead, he reached out to touch her chin ever so lightly and tipped her head upwards so he could look into her tear-filled eyes. “Love, all I care about right now is getting you bloody well enough to leave this miserable sodding place. Already know how beautiful you are, and will be again.”

Spike’s words had her heart fluttering in a way that her fiancé, or any other man honestly, had ever managed to do. ’See? That’s how it’s supposed to feel.' She told herself as she attempted another smile, not entirely trusting her voice just yet thanks to the heavy flood of emotions coursing through her at the moment, but gave up when she felt the tight pull of her stitches from the simple movement. A thought crossed her mind, but she faltered at giving in to her desire for a brief moment, before deciding to just go with it and chalked her bravery up to the medication that still swam through her veins. She eased over to the side of the bed gingerly and motioned for Spike to lay down beside her. The smile on his face melted her heart and solidified that the decision was the right one, at least for the time being.

Spike stood up and quickly shrugged out of his leather coat, tossing it over the chair he was previously sitting in, and then carefully lowered himself down onto the bed next to Buffy. He couldn’t believe that she’d motioned for him to join her on the bed, it was as if she’d read his mind Happiness zinged through him as he bundled her into his arms, doing the best to ignore the nagging voice in his head that screamed at just how unprofessional his actions were, and eased back onto the bed. When they were both as comfortable as they could be in there current position, Spike took the chance to fill Buffy in on the plans he and Angel had arranged for her living conditions once she was released from the hospital.

Then, they simply talked for the next two hours, getting to know one another by covering everything from her career to how he knew Angel, or at least the gist of their meeting. Eventually though, Buffy’s pain grew to a point where she had succumbed to its demands and allow Spike to get the nurse for more medication. Shortly after the injection, Buffy’s eyelids began to droop and even though she tried to fight, in the end sleep had won. Long after she had dozed off, Spike lay next to her and simply watched her sleep; fighting off his own drowsiness in order to protect what had become a very precious job. It was only when the sun began rising that Spike allowed himself to rest.

Later that morning, the entangled couple’s slumber was disturbed when someone entered the room and let out a startled gasp. Grumbling, Spike adamantly refused to be awakened and buried his head into Buffy’s neck, a few choice curse words were mumbled against the delicate skin that led to fully rousing Buffy from what turned out to be a nightmare-free sleep. She opened her eyes slowly, blinking to adjust to the bright lights in the stark white hospital room, but was confused as to what had woken her up. Realizing that Spike was still in the bed with her, his arms holding her gently and nose nudged in the curve of her neck, she smiled despite the pain that the gesture caused. However, it didn’t take long before her attention was diverted elsewhere, especially since Angel’s voice boomed through the room in a string of curse words. Glancing over to the door, Buffy cringed at the sight of her clearly angry friend who was standing by her equally shocked, and obviously unamused, mother.

“May I ask just what in the world is going on here?” Joyce asked in a voice that screamed ‘upset mother’, as she moved further in to the room to allow Angel to fully enter and close the door behind him for some much needed privacy. Clearly startled at finding the man that had been hired to protect Buffy in bed with her daughter, however chaste the situation actually was, Joyce tossed her purse into a nearby chair and crossed her arms while waiting for an answer. However, when Buffy attempted to do so, Angel interrupted her by growling at Spike and pointing at the door he’d just came through. “Spike! Outside. Now!”

Now fully awake, Spike sighed in defeat and started to get off the bed, but was stopped when Buffy tightened her grip on his hand. Her throat was dry and scratchy and the words she tried to force out ended up sounding like a frog croaking, a dying frog croaking at that. So, Buffy asked Spike for a glass of water so that they could explain things, and then gestured to her mother and Angel to take a seat. While she gulped down the room temperature water, the ice having melted a long time ago, Joyce obliged and turned to occupy the seat that Spike had been in last night, after moving his coat to a rolling table. Angel, however, refused to obey and instead glowered at the both of them from the corner of the room. “Angel, please sit down.” Buffy pleaded, praying that he wouldn’t cause any more of a scene than he already had. Even though they had not dated in many years, Angel was still overly protective of her and had a tendency to act before thinking, and she had no desire to deal with his dramatic ways at the moment.

Although he showed his obvious displeasure with a grim expression, Angel appeased Buffy and perched on the windowsill by Joyce’s chair; arms crossed over his chest and a annoyed glare focused solely on Spike. Jutting his chin out towards his friend, indicating to whom he was speaking to, Angel asked, “So, what the hell happened, Spike? Thought I made it perfectly clear during our little talk yesterday that this relationship between you and Buffy was strictly professional?”

Spike took a deep breath and tried to explain what had happened during the night, but encountered one small problem, that being the petite blonde firecracker beside him. Even in her seriously injured state, Buffy managed to ease the look of utter irritation on Angel’s face and the tightness in her voice didn’t escape anyone’s attention when she spoke. “Angel, I know you’re just trying to watch out for my best interest, but please don’t go over my head and discuss personal relationships without me. Key word being personal, got it?” She paused only long enough for her brooding ex-boyfriend to nod his head once in agreement, before continuing, “Now, if you don’t mind, pretty sure my mom would appreciate some sort of explanation as to what’s going on.”

Buffy filled her mother in on the less mature rated Cliff Notes version of how she and Spike met, and finished up by emphasizing how they had both searched for one another after that night, only to keep missing one another each step of the way. As she spoke, Buffy could have sworn there was a tear in her mother’s eye when she heard her confess that she would never have dated Riley had she been able to see Spike again. When she finished regaling them with the story of how she and Spike met, Buffy was relieved to find the tension had faded from her mother’s demeanor and that she appeared to be genuinely happy that they had found one another, in spite of the horrible events that had led them to doing so. Angel, however, continued to pout and punctuated his displeasure with the situation by stalking out of the room and slamming the door behind him on his way out.

They barely had time to enjoy the silence that followed in Angel’s wake before he burst back in to the room with Lorne in tow, the expressions on both of their faces instantly putting the trio on alert. The tension and worry creasing his brow was far more intense than something as trivial as the possibility of Spike and Buffy’s fledgling relationship. Angel grabbed hold of Lorne’s bicep and ushered him front and center to explain what was going on, which he managed to do while appearing sickly; his skin had taken on a pale green pallor from all the stress he had been under lately. “Gumdrop,” Lorne started, the sour look on his handsome face fading away to something akin to pity. He shoved the magazine that was clutched in one hand towards the bed, before continuing, “We have a problem, babe. A Frank Sinatra sized problem that you are very much not going to like.”

Curious, Buffy extended a hand and lifted a brow at Spike when he attempted to intercept the magazine. When Spike relented and handed it to her, Buffy felt her heart drop nearly as far as her mouth did when she saw what magazine Lorne had given her. It was JUICY, a wildly popular gossip circulation that had a tendency to post its stories before fully investigating what truly happened, but this time it appeared as though they might have the official scoop. Right there, plastered smack on the glossy cover, was her battered face as she lay in the hospital bed with headlines claiming to have all the sordid details of the night Riley assaulted her on page nineteen!

Chapter Text

Bright flashes of light blinded Buffy as she made her way to the car that Lorne had arranged for her release from the hospital. Reporters lined the sidewalk, screaming their questions at her, and she was grateful that Spike was with her, trying his best to shield her from their prying eyes with his leather duster. After what seemed like forever, they were both finally hidden in the backseat and protected by the dark tinted windows. Once the door was shut, Buffy could still hear the faint sounds of Lorne’s voice as he shouted repeatedly that he had no comment to the frenzied crowd.

Just forty-eight hours ago, Buffy had been in surgery having her nose skillfully repaired, as well as work done to her facial lacerations. After a grueling half a day spent in surgery, her surgeon had beamed and exclaimed that everything was a success when she woke up and promised her that there should be little to no scarring. However, Buffy couldn’t help but be wary of his promises when she looked into the mirror and saw her bandaged face staring gloomily back at her; the formerly creamy and smooth skin of her face still battered and bruised, and now puffy from surgery, thanks to the abuse it had suffered over the past several days.

Sighing, Buffy carefully leaned back into the plush leather back seat and gently laid her weary head on Spike’s shoulder. “Ugh…that was a total nightmare! Why can’t they stop hounding me? How is what I went through, what Dawnie went through, any of their dang business?”

Spike wanted to pull her closer, but settled for simply holding her hand and kissing the top of her head. “It’s not any of their sodding business, but it’s juicy gossip and they’re a bunch of vultures that feed on that nonsense. Sooner or later, pet, they will move on to another bit of hot gossip. For now, just remember to keep your chin up and do your best to ignore the whole lot.”

“Well, at least I got a super duper sexy body guard out of the whole deal.” Buffy pointed out, only partially joking, as she angled her head so she could look up at Spike. Just one glance at Spike had her body heating up and her heart thumping just a little bit faster, and she hated that her body was in no condition to act on the desires that he provoked. Oh, what she wouldn’t give to have a few moments of alone time with him to reenact their time together in the bathroom at Caritas, sans the shrill interruption of his cell phone. Okay, and maybe moving the whole thing to a more sanitary location instead of a bathroom at a bar, no matter how clean the particular bar was.

“That you did, love. Lucky for you, yeah?” Spike chuckled, more than pleased Buffy was in the frame of mind to make a joke. The media coverage of her attack had spread like a wild fire with reports online, magazines, radio and several television talk shows; further embarrassing her with each and every mention of the incident. Unfortunately, only about half of the reports were correct in what had actually happened that dreadful night, claiming that the assault was actually Buffy’s fault thanks to Riley flying off the handle when he caught her in bed with another man. In lieu of the events over the past week, being assaulted and then having her life dragged through a bed of hot coals, Spike had expected her to be downright gloomy.

The rest of the drive was done so in silence, only because about five minutes into it Buffy fell asleep and snored softly the remainder of the way; the surgery and bandages on her nose inducing quite the stuffed up nasal passages. About an hour later, the car came to a stop at a large gate and Spike was forced to wake her up; doing so by peppering her forehead with kisses and softly lulling her out of what seemed like a peaceful slumber. Buffy yawned and attempted to stretch her arms, wincing from the stab of pain from her ribs and giving up on the good stretch her sore muscles desperately desired. He watched as she tried to shake off the fog of a slumber cut short and he wondered if anyone else looked as adorable as Buffy did when with mussed hair, heavy lidded eyes and a smudge of drool at the corner of her mouth.

The gate slid open slowly and allowed them passage to the Chase’s vacation home, or rather, one of their vacation homes and Buffy’s mouth gaped open when they pulled up to the beach house. Cordelia had repeatedly bragged about her parent’s vacation homes in high school, but obviously never invited Buffy to visit since they hadn’t hung out back then. Since they’d become friends, Buffy had been flown out to stay with Cordy and Angel at the vacation home in Aspen, but had yet to make it out to the somewhat recently purchased sprawling home in Malibu. Of course, Buffy didn’t really get why the Chase’s needed to have a home in Malibu since they lived in Marina del Rey, but had never thought to ask. She was in awe as her eyes took in the expansive gardens, the palm tree lined drive and perfectly manicured green grass that led the way to the house that had her jaw dropping in surprise. Composed of light gray stone and statuesque gleaming windows with stone columns that framed the heavy wooden and glass door on the front porch, giving sight to the flowing staircase just inside the marble coated foyer, the so called vacation home could have easily fit half of the houses on the street she grew up on inside of its walls. Her eyes were wide in wonder as she crawled from the car, and she was glad that Cordelia wasn’t there to witness her slack jawed enthrallment as she headed around back to explore while Spike assisted the driver in unloading their bags. Following the winding stone walkway around back, she found herself in the midst of tropical paradise. A lazy waterfall plunged into an Olympic sized swimming pool which was surrounded by lush foliage and trees, and the best part was that everything was secluded, bordered by a cliffs and a private beach.

Buffy was staring at the ocean, her feet submerged in the warm water of the pool as she stood on the stone step while she stared out at the crystal blue water, when she felt Spike’s strong arms snake around her shoulders. She leaned into him slightly and turned her head towards his so she could place a soft kiss onto his chiseled cheekbone. Content for the moment, they stayed there and held onto one another, simply enjoying the peace and solitude while staring out onto the horizon.

Eventually, Spike coaxed her into the house since her friends were scheduled to arrive after lunch to drop off her belongings from Riley’s. Faith, Tara and Willow had dutifully went to Buffy’s old residence to pack when news had spread that Riley had been arrested late last night; figuring it would be better to go when they knew for certain that he would not be making any appearances and causing trouble.

Once inside the massive home, Buffy headed upstairs in search of the master bedroom and its spacious bathroom Cordelia had mentioned the night before, while Spike went into the kitchen to see about lunch. By the time Buffy came back downstairs after a quick shower, although she fully intended on visiting the swimming pool sized bathtub before bed, Spike was setting the table with a plate of sandwiches, chips, drinks and an assortment of fruit and seemed to genuinely enjoy the look of surprise that spread across her face at having a man prepare a meal for her; even something as simple as what was presented. Time passed quickly while they ate and talked about everything and yet, nothing at all, but their relaxed conversation didn’t get to last as long as either of them hoped when the shrill buzz of someone arriving at the gate signaled that her friends had arrived.

Buffy greeted her girlfriends, their boisterous chatter echoing in the foyer, and introduced them to Spike, who immediately excused himself to start unloading the van, which was on loan from Oz. The moment the door closed behind Spike, Faith pounced on Buffy with her eyebrows wagging devilishly. ”Mmm…that is one fine piece of ass you’ve invested in, B! Gotta get me some of that!” Noticing her friend’s unpleased expression, Faith shrugged and smiled slyly, “Unless maybe you’ve already claimed him for yourself?”

“Well,” Buffy began, raising her eyebrow at Faith, “let’s just preface that with a stern warning to keep your claws away from him. I am paying him good money to stick to me like glue and I fully intend to keep it that way.”

“Hot damn! You dirty dog, B!” Faith exclaimed a little too loud for Buffy’s tastes and she prayed that Spike was nowhere near the front door to hear their exchange.

“Umm, Buff?” Willow said nervously, the skin on her normally pale skin flushed to a bright red that rivaled her hair in intensity. Her eyes were wide as she fidgeted, wringing her hands together as she dipped her head to stare at the floor before continuing, “Do you think being with Spike is such a good thing right now? With all the news stuff going on?”

Buffy was at a loss for words, utterly speechless since she had assumed that her friends would not judge her like the media had been relentless at doing for the past few days. Her mouth open and shut repeatedly, reminiscent of a guppy, as she struggled to figure out how to respond to Willow’s questions.

“Willow, s…sweetie.” Tara interjected, her soft gentle voice stuttering as it typically did when she was nervous. She placed her hand on her lover’s shoulder and continued, “W…what kind of relationship would we have if we had let other people’s opinions make our decisions?”

Buffy smiled at Tara, grateful to have someone on her side. Finding her voice, she said, “Wills, do you remember that story I told you about last summer? The hot guy in the bathroom?” She paused and waited for Willow to respond, a simple shake of her best friend’s head prompted Buffy to continue. “Spike would said hottie.”

“No way! What are the odds?” Willow exclaimed, her eyes as wide as possible as she stared at Buffy and then glanced back at the closed front door that Spike could open at any given moment. Sobering, she turned back to Buffy and said, “I’m happy that you guys finally found one another, but, seriously…I’d maybe be careful about how you guys handle this. It could get way out of control for the both of you, especially with how the media concocted that whole sham about how you cheated on Riley. What if they think Spike was the guy you did the whole made up dead with? Just promise me you’ll consider what could happen?”

Buffy nodded in agreement, her stomach churned with newly fed anxiety as she considered Willow’s words. How had she never thought about Spike’s roll in the whole situation? If Willow was right and the media did turn their fledgling relationship into a three ring circus, how would it affect Spike and his job? How would they be able to muddle through the treacherous waters of tabloid gossip and survive without tarnishing or destroying their new relationship?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Dusk was rapidly approaching as they stood on the front steps and waved goodbye to her friends as they headed down the driveway. Spike stood beside her, only slipping his arms around her for a hug when the van was out of sight, as though he sensed there was a reason to keep his gestures of affection secret. He dipped his head and nuzzled the delicate skin at the curve of her neck, sending shivers through out her body with each caress of his lips and nibble of his teeth. As she melted into his warm embrace, Willow’s doubts plague her mind and the reality of their situation snapped inside of her about the same time as Spike’s hands slid underneath her shirt to skim over her lower back. Halting the embrace, Buffy slithered out of his hold and took a step back. “We need to talk.” She said cautiously, a dark shadow falling over Spike’s face at the statement that was never said in a good situation.

“Go on then.” He said slowly, cautiously as he cocked one scared eyebrow at Buffy and tilted his head to the side ever so slightly. The cocky nature that disguised the soft hearted man that lurked inside of him slipped into place to protect himself.
“Maybe we should move slower. Um…you know, just keep this more on the friendly side until things cool down with the tabloids.” Buffy explained, a lump forming in her throat as she watched his reaction to her words. ‘This will be better for him.’ She reminded herself and made a vow right then to not let her personal drama affect Spike and his life in the slightest. He didn’t deserve to be dragged down by the turmoil that was her personal choices in life. “I’m not saying it will be forever and all. Just until things die down some?”

Spike stared at Buffy in silence and fought to keep his emotions under control. It had taken them over a year to find one another and now the crazy bint just wanted to be friends? An angry flood of words were about to flow from his mouth, until he looked into her eyes and saw the struggle that was there. Deep in the shimmering green depths of Buffy’s eyes, he saw that she wanted him but could not deal with that pressure right now; not with everything that had happened to her as of late. Sighing in defeat, Spike slipped his arms around her and kissed her forehead. “Fine, pet. You win, for now.” He could feel her tears dampen his shirt as she leaned against his chest. “I bet you are worn out, yeah? How would you feel about a bubble bath?” She pulled away and glared at him. “I mean a bubble bath for one, kitten.” Laughing softly, he felt her relaxed in his arms and he held her for minute longer before ushering her up the stairs towards the bedroom he had hoped to be sharing with her.

While Spike drew her a hot bath in the enormous master bathroom, Buffy wandered into the bedroom in search of pajamas, which took a while since all of her clothes were still in boxes. Finally locating some cotton pajama bottoms, a camisole and some underwear, she headed back to the bathroom just in time to hear the water stop running. Standing near the tub, she realized that because of her ribs and collarbone she would have trouble undressing, when she was in the hospital a nurse or her mother helped her change. A deep red flush covered her face when she realized that she would need Spike’s help to remove her clothes.

As if he sensed what was running through her mind as she clutched her night clothes to her chest, Spike reached over to help with her top. “Don’t worry, pet. ‘S nothing but a friend helping a friend.” He assured her when he felt her muscles tighten. “Promise I won’t look.” The moment the words were out of his mouth, he knew that resistance would be futile and vowed to be as discreet about the glances he did take. He slipped her shirt over her head carefully and bit back a curse when he saw the full extent of the damage Riley had inflicted on her petite body; plum colored bruises covered her torso, marring the creamy skin. Shaking off his anger momentarily, he helped her slide her jeans down her legs and damn it, but he couldn’t help the reaction his body had to the sight of Buffy clad in nothing but a matching set of lace and silk dusky pink underwear.

Buffy quivered at his gentle touch, instantly reacting to the simple feel of the roughened skin of his palms sliding her clothes from her body. She glanced up and locked gazes with him, realizing that he was thinking the same thing and fought to maintain her composure under the weight of the desire in his icy blue stare. Inches away from his sensuous lips, Buffy struggled not to give in to her wanton needs and somehow managed to dig up some self-control as she stepped away from Spike, turned and slowly eased into the bathtub.

Since he wasn’t needed anymore, Spike excused himself to go search the premises and lock up for the night; leaving the door cracked slightly in case she needed him. After easing out of the bathroom, Spike rested his forehead against the door frame and sighed with frustration. He had never wanted a woman as much as he wanted Buffy Summers, not even his first love, Drusilla, and he desperately wanted to throw caution to the wind, strip down and join her in that delicious bubble bath. He craved her touch, he was addicted to the taste of her skin, the smell of her perfume, the feel of her small body next to his. He wanted nothing more than to make love to her, to relish in the wonders of her body for hours until he’d pulled every ounce of pleasure from her. Something as simple as undressing her for a bath had sent his hormones into overdrive, hardening his cock to the point of pain, pressing the sensitive skin tightly against the zipper in his pants to the point there were likely indentations on his dick now. But, sadly, he could only imagine what he would do to her body if giving the chance to make his fantasy come true. He’d give Buffy the time she wanted, deserved, but he wouldn’t wait forever. She would be his, one day, Spike vowed as he took a deep breath and forced himself from her bedroom.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Surrounded by frothy bubbles and wonderfully hot muscles that eased the pain in her muscles, but not the throbbing between her thighs that refused to desist. Nope, that special ache was something that only Spike could attend to, but she’d gone and let her fear of hurting him in the future ruin the fun they could be having right now. Buffy’s eyes closed as she gave in to her need, her hand a pathetic consolation prize to the cock she’d felt pressed against her earlier, and slid her hand down her flat stomach until it reached the tiny patch of curls located at the apex of her thighs and slowly began caressing the sensitive nub nestled there. Pausing briefly, Buffy listened for any signs that Spike was near before pressing the pads of her fingers down a little harder and moving them a little faster; eager to achieve the release her body desired. Her breathy moans filled the tiled bathroom and threatened to give away what she was doing had there been anyone on the other side of the door to listen.

What Buffy didn’t know what that there was someone out there. Someone who’d returned but had not yet made his presence known. Standing on the other side of the slightly cracked bathroom door, Spike heard Buffy moan and instantly assumed that something was wrong. He honestly meant to only ease the door open a bit more to stick his head in and ask if she was okay, but instead he found that the moans he’d heard weren’t the result of pain. Spike stood motionless, not believing what he was seeing. Reason told him that watching Buffy masturbate was wrong, but he was unable to tear his gaze from her wet, naked body. Spike stifled a groan in his throat as her breasts bobbed at the surface, taut nipples peeked at him through the bubbles, teasing him. His cock hardened again, begging for attention. A slave to his own desires, he lowered his zipper and released his rock hard cock from the confines of his pants. Spike began stroking himself in rhythm with Buffy, imagining it was her tight walls wrapped around him, fucking him hard, instead of his own hand. Bracing himself against the door frame, he pumped faster when he noticed she was nearing a pleasurable end. Buffy’s head was thrown back against the tub, her pretty pink mouth open in a silent scream as her orgasm ripped through her body; her face a mixture of pleasure and pain. As he watched her twitch with aftershocks, Spike pumped faster until he shot his load into his other hand, the only receptacle he could think of at the moment. Leaning forward, he rested his swimming head momentarily against the door frame and somehow managed to use his free hand to tuck his softening dick back into his pants, although the button was a different matter and had to be left undone. Then, he quickly and quietly retreated to another bathroom to clean up before helping Buffy out of the bathtub.

Chapter Text

Champagne bubbled in her system, tingles coursed and zinged through her body, leaving Buffy slightly tipsy and overwhelmingly giddy. She twirled around on the dance floor with her friends, truly enjoying her first night of freedom in ages. Making eye contact with Spike, who was perched at a nearby table keeping watch from a safe distance; ever the professional. She smiled brightly at him, a mix of sheer happiness and liquid courage, and waved for him to join the throng of pulsating bodies that she had lost herself in for the past couple of hours. Spike shook his head from side to side, adamant in his earlier stance that the security had no business down in the trenches having fun when he was there to make sure she was safe. With a frown, full on lower lip pouting in full effect, Buffy tried again and was met with the same response. Sighing, she shrugged and turned back to her friends, all the while wishing that Spike would get out on the dance floor and enjoy himself a little bit since going out was his idea, after all.

Buffy had been more than surprised when Spike had mentioned taking her out for the evening after she had been cleared medically by her doctor; deemed healed of all of her bumps and bruises left behind by Riley. At first she’d been intrigued by his offer, thinking that maybe it was a way for him to get the two of them out in the public eye to see how people responded to them as a couple, but upon his declaration that she needed a night out with her girlfriends, Buffy had politely declined the invitation; wanting to continue keeping herself hidden away for as long as possible so as to not tempt any potential wagging tongues. However, after being met with cerulean eyes that begged for a night of freedom away from the house they’d been near captives in for six weeks, she had relented. Now, after a solid three hours on the dance floor and a barrage of bubbly beverages, Buffy had to admit that some quality friend time with Faith, Willow and Tara was something she needed far more than she realized.

Tearing her eyes away from Spike’s, Buffy turned back around to her friends and found that she had been firmly ensconced in the odd man out category. With the change in music, from upbeat dance music that pulsated through your body to a slow and sultry burn in your veins, the couples around her had formed two by two. Willow and Tara swayed to the music, slightly off beat, but so lost in one another’s eyes that they failed to notice their lack of rhythm. While Faith defied the laws of slow songs and was sensuously tucked between the sweaty bodies of two men and grinding her hips seductively; playing with fire, as always.

Lost and alone for the time being, Buffy’s shoulders dropped as she turned around to leave the dance floor and her eyes sought out Spike’s without being told to do so. The icy blue heat she was met with caused the temperature in her body to spike and her heart to thump wildly. Over the past month and a half, the sexual tension between the Spike and herself had grown increasingly uncomfortable, almost bordering on excruciatingly painful, as each day passed and they failed to give in to their baser needs. Tired of being alone, especially in the middle of a club while everyone else was paired off like it was time to board Noah’s Ark, Buffy downed the last dregs of the pink champagne in her glass as she marched off the dancefloor with every intentions of returning to it with a partner.

Liquid courage raged through her veins, thanks to all of the sparkling alcohol Buffy had consumed, allowing her normally demure demeanor to slip away into the recesses of her mind and let the naughty side of her come out to play. Stalking through the crowd, Buffy made her way to Spike.

“Dance with me.” She all but demanded when she was in front of him, close enough that he’d had to widen his knees to accommodate her sudden presence. When he started to shake his head no once more, she poked out her bottom lip and tried another avenue. “But, I’m all alone. You don’t want me to be all alone during a slow song, do you?”

“Dancing’s not in the job description, love.” Spike finally managed to get out. He laid his hands on his thighs and clenched them tightly into fists, hard enough that his fingernails bit into his palm; paying no attention to the biting pain. He had to do anything to keep from reaching out, grabbing hold of Buffy’s hips and pulling her tightly against his body. Anything He had agreed to take things slowly, after all, and just be friends. Mauling her in the middle of a club would not fit be appropriate friend behavior. Nodding towards the trio of friends she’d left on the dancefloor, he added, “Willow’s already looking for you. Go on then, love. Have fun.”

Have fun? Well, she could think of a few ways that the two of them could have this so-called fun. The alcohol in her veins was spiked by the heat of desire that being this close to Spike produced. She knew that being friends and taking things slow had been her idea, but damn it she didn’t wish there was such a thing as a time machine that could allow her to go back and change that decision. Leaning in closer to Spike so that he could hear her whisper, Buffy tried to change that horrible decision. Putting her lips against the shell of his ear, she nuzzled her lips along the curve before asking, “Did I ever thank you for getting me out of the house tonight?”

“No need for thanks, love.” Spike replied, unconsciously leaning closer to the feel of Buffy’s warm lips on his ear. She was close enough to him now that he could feel the warmth emanating from her body and the tantalizing mixture of scent that was solely Buffy; strawberries and cream.

“I know I said it and all, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t properly show you just how much fun I’m having.” Buffy slid her lips down the curve of his ear and dipped below to whisper them over the lobe, before darting her tongue out to lightly caress the skin there. The alcohol in her system caused her to lurch forward slightly from the awkward angle and Buffy placed her hands on Spike’s chest to hold her in spot.

“Um…pet?” Spike mumbled, somehow managing to form words, and moved his clenched fists away from his thighs to clasp Buffy’s delicate wrists to keep her from rubbing the palms of her hands over his chest. She wiggled that delectable body of hers closer to him, wedging the figure that he’d literally spent the past six weeks jacking off to the image of nightly further between thighs. Buffy was close enough now to realize just how turned on he’d been while watching her dance all night long. When she took full advantage of their proximity and pressed further against the bulge in his pants, Spike choked out, “This is bloody great and all…and, you’ve no idea how long I’ve dreamed of this moment, but this isn’t moving slow. Definitely not private either, pet.”

“Why do you always smell so good?” Buffy asked out of the blue, either brushing off his comment altogether or the alcohol in her system didn’t fully comprehend his concerns. She eased her upper body forward slightly and inhaled deeply. The look that Buffy gave Spike after she had completed a long, well sniffed out inspection of his scent sent a tingle of excitement straight to the part of his body that didn’t need any further encouragement. She peeked up at him beneath heavy lidded desire filled eyes and pulled her teeth harshly over the plump pink lower lip that had made more than one appearance in his nightly fantasies. “You’re all smoky and sexy smelling.”

Desire zinged through her body and alcohol fueled her bravery as Buffy rubbed sensuously against the hardened bulge in Spike’s pants like a kitten begging its owner for a bowl of cream. The length and rock hard feeling of his cock pushing against her proved just how correct her fantasies about his manly parts were; the ones that she had masturbated to nightly since they had moved in to the beach mansion. Licking her lips, Buffy met Spike’s gaze and threw caution to the wind. “Yeah, I’m thinking that we shouldn’t pay attention to the person who said we should move all slow-like. She was clearly a crazy person.”

“You sure, pet?” Spike murmured in response, their bodies close enough now that his whisper was perfectly audible despite the thumping of the music. He loosened the grasp he had on Buffy’s wrists and switched to gently massaging the skin there with the pads of his thumbs. Cocking his scarred eyebrow, the one he’d been unfortunate enough to catch the end of a broken bottle with, and leered suggestively at her. “There won’t be any going back, Buffy. Once I taste you, you’re mine.”

Spike’s voice rumbled, growled and sent shivers down her spine with the promise in his words. All Buffy could think about at that moment was the feel of him caressing her skin and the notion of his mouth on her body, tasting her. Returning the lecherous grin, Buffy stepped away from Spike’s spread thighs and took on of his hands in her own. “Come on.”

Obediently, Spike followed Buffy as she wound through the pulsating, dancing crowd; curious as to what the little minx was up to. She had certainly never been this straight forward with him before and it was a side of Buffy that really turned him on, especially after a month and a half of torturous flirting and solo hand jobs that surprisingly hadn’t left his cock chafed from overuse. He had never masturbated as much as he had since taking over Buffy’s protection detail since he was just a nerdy schoolboy hiding away in his bedroom with pictures of his high school crush, Cecily.

Halfway through the throng of bodies, Spike noticed the neon sign for the restrooms with an arrow pointing in the direction they were heading. Smirking, Spike realized that his little goddess was taking him back to a restroom to start what they had started long ago; only to be surprised when she led him around the corner and up the stairs to the darkened alcove that overlooked the crowded dancefloor.

They had barely made it off the stairway before he was roughly pushed up against the wall along the rear of the alcove. Plastering herself to him, Spike could feel her breasts tightly pushed up against his chest hard enough to feel the tight buds of her hardened nipples poking him through the silky material of her dress. Spike groaned deeply as she peppered kisses down the curve of his neck, nipping at the skin along with way, and made her way downwards across his chest; leaving moist ringlets on the fabric from where she suckled him through the black shirt. The course her mouth was taking left little room to argue where she was heading and Spike fought with his inner demon on if he should stop her or not. Deep inside he knew that he should stop her, being that Buffy had been drinking and they were in a very public place, but the all reason left his brain when she tugged down the zipper of his pants and slipped one delicate, warm hand inside.

“Oh, God, Buffy.” Spike moaned guttural at the feel of her hand closing around his dick, warm and tight. His hands slid up her arms and his hands disappeared into her luscious golden locks as she lowered herself down onto her knees on the floor. His heartbeat sped up, thumping at a dangerously fast pace, and he glanced down just in time to see Buffy smile up at him a split second before those delicious pink lips of hers closed around his cock. “We shouldn’t…oh, god, shouldn’t be doing this here. Please, pet.”

Buffy pulled back ever so slightly, enough so that she could glance up at Spike, but not so far away that his dick wasn’t jutting directly at her face. And, what an impressive dick it was, definitely living up to the expectations of her nightly fantasies about it. The skin was velvety soft and hot against her palm, thick enough that her small hand almost didn’t wrap completely around it, and glistening on the tip with excitement. “Please, what?” She asked, devilish intent bright in her eyes, and darted out her tongue to lick away the drop of moisture.

“You’re killing me.” Spike ground out as he tried his hardest to remain the gentleman he’d been since finding her once more. However, his hips jutted forward and a moan of desire escaped his mouth when Buffy’s lips closed around his dick again, and all gentlemanly intentions flew right out the window. He was just a man, after all. A man that had been sporting a perpetual hard on for the past six weeks and desperately wanted to feel the touch of the woman he was beginning to think he was falling in love with, instead of the rough feel of his own calloused hand.

“Do you want me to stop?” Buffy asked after pulling his dick out of her mouth, honestly worried that Spike didn’t want her to suck him off, despite the obvious signs of arousal at the prospect. She kept her hand tightly wrapped around the base of his dick, the coarse hairs tickled the edge of her hand, and waited for his response…one that finally came in the form of a shake of the head and a needy groan for her to continue on. Closing her lips around his cock once more, Buffy relished the salty, musky taste of Spike as she slowly devoured each and every inch of him.

Her body zinged with passion, her skin tingled and the ache between her thighs was bordering on painful. She never knew that giving oral sex could be such a turn on, and wondered what the difference was between the other times she had performed the task on the handful of sexual partners she’d had before Spike. The ache between her thighs was intense and insistent, begging for its own release while she worked on Spike’s. With one hand firmly wrapped around his dick, she slipped the other beneath her dress and eased it down the front of her silky panties. Rubbing the pads of her fingers in rhythm to the motion of her sucking off Spike, Buffy moaned around his cock as she frantically sought out relief for both of them.

All the time they’d spent building up the sexual tension between them, only to go to bed alone and wanting, had geared the both of them up for a release of epic proportions. It didn’t take long to find what they had both been needing, wanting, desiring for the past six weeks…or year, if you considered all the time they’d been apart and wanting the other. Stars sparkled behind Buffy’s closed eyes as the tingle between her legs caught fire and spread through her body. She trembled and moaned around his cock as her orgasm ripped through her, tearing its way through her body with a fiery release.

Returning her full attention to Spike, she slid her hand from her panties and tentatively maneuvered it around Spike’s open pants to cup his balls gently; massaging them lightly as she sped up the pace of her sucking. When his hips jutted forward and he elicited a loudly groaned curse, Buffy figured she must be doing something right. His groans turned to barely comprehensible words, but Buffy was able to grasp what he was trying to say and politely ignored his warnings. She’d never followed through on oral sex to the end, typically eager to have the whole thing over with as fast as possible, but if sucking on Spike’s dick was this much of a turn on, she wanted to see what having him fall apart with her mouth wrapped around him would feel like.

She removed her hand from his balls and dick and moved them around to his hips so she could hold on to him better. Slipping and sliding her mouth up and down his cock, Buffy felt his body spasm from head to toe only a moment before he growled loudly and tightened his grip on her head. The sound that came out of Spike could only be described as animalistic as he came into her mouth; hot and salty. She held on to him until his movements stilled, swallowing around his thick cock until he had nothing more to give. Buffy let him slip from her mouth, pressing a soft kiss to the tip before she relinquished her hold on him. She wiped the back of her hand over her lips and looked up at Spike. The look of utter satisfaction sent a shot of pure, feminine pride through her and Buffy thought that there might be a chance that she could get addicted to that feeling, as well as the feel of Spike’s dick in her mouth.

Standing up, Buffy adjusted her skirt and made sure she looked respectable before meeting Spike’s gaze. He said nothing as he shoved his dick back into his pants and fixed his pants, his eyes never leaving hers while doing so. For a moment, Buffy thought that maybe he was regretting his decision not to stop earlier, but then he crashed his lips down on to hers hungrily. His tongue darted into her mouth, no doubt tasting himself on her tongue, and devoured her.

“What the hell was that, love?” Spike asked when their lips parted, both of them panting. His blue eyes were dark with desire and his cock was hard once more, tightly pressed between their bodies.

“Me, taking a chance.” Buffy whispered.

Chapter Text

The sexual tension that filled the car only made the ride back home seem longer than it actually was. By the time they pulled through the gate and parked in front of the front door, the urgency and need for one another was so high that Buffy and Spike stumbled from the car towards the house without taking their hands off of one another. Once Spike managed to finally slide the key into the lock, they burst through the front door and shuffled across the marbled foyer towards the stairs. Spike urged Buffy back towards the massive staircase, but changed course when she missed the first step and they nearly tumbled to the floor. He maneuvered her towards a neighboring wall and pinned her against it; trapping her between the wall and his body.

He pulled his mouth away from hers and dipped his head lower, licking and nipping his way down the column of her neck and bit down lightly in the curve before focusing his attention on puling the clothes from Buffy’s body. Spike’s hands shook as he tugged at the zipper of Buffy’s dress, thanks to a mixture of nervousness and utter horniness coursing through his body. Finally, the metal teeth of the zipper gave way and slid down her back to loosen the silky material of her dress enough so that he could push it from her body; leaving her nearly bare to his gaze in only a dainty pair of underwear and sky high heels. Growling, he dove in like a kid in a candy store and lavished attention to Buffy’s breasts with rampant abandon; latching on to one pert nipple with his lips while caressing the other smooth globe with his hand.

Buffy was putty in his hands. Squirming and whimpering with desire as he suckled at her breasts and explored her lush body with his hands. His erection strained against the rough material of his jeans, pressing tightly against the zipper with enough pressure to be on the verge of uncomfortable, but Spike wanted to prolong the inevitable for as long as possible and worship at the gloriousness of the body in front of him. A veritable playground of sexual delight that he had been fantasizing about with every second of every day since he’d been stupid enough to let her slip out of his grasp so long ago.

Lost to the taste of her, the feel of Buffy’s skin against his lips and the softness of her skin beneath each caress of his hand, Spike relished each sensation. Releasing his hold on the delicate bud of her nipple, he kissed and licked his way down Buffy’s torso until he reached the succulent, ripe center of her desire. Perched on his knees, Spike slid the scrap of lacy underwear from her body before reaching out to hold on to Buffy’s legs. With great care, he eased her legs into a better position for what he had in mind, slipping one of her golden tan legs over his shoulder. Spike smiled devilishly as he leaned forward and tasted her sweet center. One long swipe of his tongue across her folds had Buffy squirming against him and moaning deeply, her hands fisted in his hair and broke through the gel that he’d applied hours before. Her nails bit into his scalp in a manner that should have been painful, but only produced more pleasure.

Licking and sucking, probing and learning, Spike delved into the moist, heated center between Buffy’s trembling thighs. She cried out with pleasure, whimpered with delight, and begged for his cock, but Spike remained vigilant in his pursuit; wanting to give her the pleasure she’d bestowed on him in the club. Spike grabbed hold of her other leg and pushed it back over his shoulder so that she was cradling his head between her thighs, using his strength to hold Buffy in place as he devoured her. When her orgasm ripped through her body, Spike smiled with satisfaction against her folds and slowly lowered Buffy’s feet to the floor. Placing a soft kiss atop the petite thatch of blonde curls at the apex of her thighs, he held on to her legs as he peppered them with kisses while he slowly stood up.

Buffy’s eyes were closed as she panted, trying to catch her breath after the force of passion from her orgasm. Spike dipped his head and kissed her, letting her taste the sweetness of her body on his lips, and she responded hungrily. He slid his hands from her waist down to hook on either side of her legs so that he could lift her up and wrap them around his body; pressing the evidence of his desire for her tightly against her sex. She moaned against his kiss and arched her body towards his, eager to ease the ache between her legs that his mouth only made stronger.

Spike had the fleeting thought that he should take her upstairs to the massive bed she’d been sleeping in each night alone, that Buffy deserved more than to be fucked against a wall in the middle of the foyer, but the feel of her tugging at his belt erased those thoughts. Without breaking their mouths apart from one another, his little vixen managed to open his pants and reach inside to wrap her warm little hand tightly around his cock; eliciting a groan of desire from him while doing so. He felt the head of his cock press against her wet heat and he broke away long enough to pause her ministrations.

“What? What’s wrong?” Buffy panted, her eyes heavy lidded and full of desire and confusion. Her hand was still wrapped around Spike’s cock, but he’d pulled back far enough so that he couldn’t feel the searing heat of her sex against his skin.

“Condom.” Spike bit out as he released his hold on one of her thighs to shove his hand into his back pocket. In an amazing feat of dexterity given the situation, he managed to pull out his wallet and, with the assistance of Buffy, extract the foil packet that had been tucked inside since he’d moved in to the house with her. He watched with rapt attention as Buffy lifted the wrapper to her mouth and used her teeth to tear open one end, before they worked together to slid the condom over his shaft.

Their gazes connected in one heated glance as Buffy guided his cock back towards her body, letting her hand fall away with each inch that was slid inside of her. Moving together, he slid from her body and thrust back inside, each movement becoming more frantic with each passing moment their bodies were connected intimately. Buffy came apart in his arms, shattering around his cock with a cry of passion so loud that he was thankful for the distance between the homes in the neighborhood. Grunting in to the curve of her neck, Spike cursed as he followed Buffy over the edge of desire and bit down as it tore through his body, his teeth no doubt leaving behind their mark.

Legs trembling, Spike lowered Buffy to the ground once more, but held on to her tightly when she wobbled in the sky high heels that were still on her feet. Just the sight of her in nothing but those patent leather shoes, her creamy skin flushed from the orgasm he’d just given her, had Spike’s cock twitching to life once more.

There was a moment of awkwardness for the both of them as Spike turned around to deal with the used condom that would no doubt cause a mess if he didn’t discard of it soon and Buffy did her best to appear chaste, despite the fact that she was as naked as the day she was born and had just been thoroughly debauched against the wall. Spike hated doing so, but he had to slip away to the half bath just off the foyer to dispose of the condom. He exited the bathroom in time to see Buffy shimmy the silky material of her previously discarded dress up over her hips and start shoving her arms in to the straps. Stepping up behind her, Spike ghosted the palms of his hands up her arms and nuzzled the back of her neck through her golden luscious locks. “Don’t think I said you could get dressed, pet.”

She shivered in his arms as he growled his words against her neck. “I…I thought we were done.” Buffy replied breathlessly while arching back against the growing erection in his pants, the one that was slowly rising to press against the curve of her ass.

“Oh, love, you thought wrong.” Spike chuckled and spun her around in his arms. Facing Buffy now, he lowered his lips to hers and kissed her hungrily, showing her just how much he still had left in him to give. Spike grabbed hold of the sides of her dress and forced the material back down her body, shoving the garment to the floor with a feral growl. He pulled Buffy tightly against his body and lifted her in to his arms, wrapping her legs around his waist so that he could carry her upstairs to the bedroom where he’d intended to take her in the first place. “We’re just getting started.”

Chapter Text

Awakened by a shiver, Spike realized that they had fallen asleep on top of the covers and were lying completely bare. Glancing around the room, using the silvery moonlight that was gleaming through the picturesque windows as light, he spied a quilt tossed over the back of a chair across the room. Easing away from his slumbering lover, Spike stealthily crossed the vast room to quickly retrieve the blanket. Returning back to the massive king sized bed, he stared at the nude goddess peacefully sleeping, blissfully unaware that she was bare to his hungry eyes or the chill in the room, before carefully laying the cover over her slender form and sliding back into bed with her. Once Spike was settled next to Buffy once more, she snuggled against him, shaping her sumptuous body to fit perfectly against him. Spike wrapped his arms back around her slight figure with one hand cupped around one breast; small, but perfect against his palm. Utterly content, Spike drifted back to sleep with ease; the troubling thoughts that often plagued the darkness of his mind absent for the moment.

Hours later, the silver light of the moon replaced by the golden rays of sunshine to light the bedroom, Buffy stirred in her sleep and startled awake with a scream of panic on the tip of her tongue when she felt someone next to her. Momentarily confused, she sharply whipped her head around to find Spike snoring lightly, tucked against her with one arm draped across her waist. The memory of the night before came back to her in a flood, blushing her cheeks with a heat of pleasure, as she recalled the voracity in which she had succumbed to the desire for Spike that had plagued her since the first night they had met and how eager she had been to give in to that desire as he devoured her body eagerly; moving their sensuous tryst from against the wall in the foyer to the bedroom she had slept in alone since being placed in his care.

Watching him sleep, unaware to her keen observation of his naked body that was only partially covered with a blanket that he had obviously covered them with at some point in the evening after she had fallen asleep, Buffy drank in the sight of Spike's smooth, alabaster skin and the taut, flat chest muscles as they rose softly with each breath. Tentatively, she experimentally reached out to touch him, tracing her fingertips lightly across the warmth of his skin and circled them around the edges of his flat nipples, before flicking the bud of one. His breath hitched and his body twitched in his slumber at the sensation, startling Buffy to the point that she pulled her hand away briefly, unsure what to do. Wondering if she should continue in her exploration of his body or not, she watched as he had stilled and was once again sleeping soundly, so she bravely continued down the path she had set out on; eager and curious to learn every inch of his body.

What little of the blanket that had covered his torso had slipped down further when Spike moved in his sleep, awarding Buffy with a new view of the lower half of his upper body and a tantalizing one at that, as she could now see the light patch of hair that trailed downwards from his belly button to the bulge of the penis that was stubbornly still hiding beneath the blanket. Glancing back up towards Spike's face, Buffy made sure he was still definitely asleep before leaning over to place a series of feather light kisses across his very nicely sculpted abdomen and circled the tip of her tongue around the edge of his belly button. A feeling of confidence washed over her as she explored Spike's toned body with her tongue and fingers, bravely leading her towards further down the path from his belly button towards the edge of the quilt that covered his lower half. Pushing away the quilt that appeared to be hand sewn, Buffy was greeted with the satiny smooth tip of his already hardened cock that had apparently been lying in wait for her in anticipation of the tongue that had been eagerly exploring its way down his body. Buffy bit the swell of her bottom lip and pondered her next move for a solid three seconds before dipping her head down so that she could trace the tip of her tongue along the slit of the head of his dick and savored the saltiness that lay there. Grinning at the way his hips writhed, despite the fact that he was obviously still asleep, Buffy pulled herself to a position that would grant her better access to him. She ogled his gloriously naked body momentarily, before gently wrapping her hand around his dick and angling it upwards so that she easily lick from shaft to head in one long line; earning her a deep moan from Spike as he slowly came awake with each lick and suckle from her mouth.

The feel of his hand sliding up her back, the heat of his palm burning a path from her lower back to settle at the base of her neck, Buffy lifted her mouth from his dick when Spike's fingers buried themselves in her hair. She paused long enough to offer a devilish smile to him before wrapping her lips around his dick once more, adding one hand into the mix to stroke his shaft and cause enough friction that his hand tightened roughly in her hair and he fisted the other into the bedding with a strangled curse and deep, throaty moan. Glancing up at him with his dick pushed roughly against the back of her throat, Buffy felt a wave of moisture flood between her thighs at the sight of him coming undone, simply from what she was doing to him; the aching at her center was so potent that she almost straddled him right then and there to satisfy her own greedy need for release.

“Pet,” Spike choked out to her in a strangled curse slash moan. Eyes closed, Buffy felt the tips of his fingers as he tried to grab hold of her thigh and she glanced up in time for him to continue, “Turn around, luv. Lemme taste you.”

More than eager to fulfill Spike's request, damn near soaking herself with desire at the simple thought of his mouth devouring her as she sucked him off, Buffy paused long enough to readjust her position; now perched with her ass in the air and center directly over Spike's mouth. The delicious feeling of his tongue teasing her folds and delving into the heat of her body had Buffy's thighs quivering to the point that she was briefly concerned she would not be able to hold herself up long enough to finish him off, but all concern washed away as she dipped her head and took him into her mouth once more. Sliding her head down to the point her nose nudged against his balls and the tip of his dick pressed roughly against the back of her throat, Buffy relished the feeling of Spike eating away at her while she swallowed him whole.

His hands grabbed at her waist, sliding down further to cup her buttocks; one in each palm as his hold tightened to a point that should have been painful, but was anything but, as he dug the blunt edge of his nails into her skin. Buffy strangled out a groan of pleasure around his dick, faltering momentarily at her ministrations when he bit down not so gently on her clit, before suckling at the throbbing ball of flesh until the sharp pain faded away. A little more than surprised at how much she enjoyed the roughness, the pinch of pain before the rush of pleasure slipped in and washed it away, Buffy suckled deeper and reveled in the way Spike's hips jutted upwards to meet her mouth when she swallowed his dick fully.

Warmth radiated through her lower body, emanating from her core to spread through her hips and upper thighs as the promise of release made its way closer to spilling over the edge. Struggling to keep her eyes on the prize, to suck him in deeper and tighter into her mouth eagerly until he exploded against the back of her throat, Buffy moaned around Spike's dick as he teased her clit with his teeth and tongue once more.

“That's right, luv,” Spike murmured between licks of his tongue against her clit, his voice roughened with desire. “Fucking fall apart for me. Come on my tongue, my sweet.” And so she did, completely caught off guard at the feeling of her orgasm tearing its way through her body, but not before bringing him along with her.

Flopping to the side of where he laid, her body gloriously spent, Buffy felt zero shame in laying there in all her nakedness as they both struggled to catch their breath and calm their racing hearts as the pleasure filled warmth of their orgasm slowly faded. When she calmed down enough so that her words would not fall from her mouth in an undecipherable sentence, Buffy eased her head up onto Spike's thigh, glanced up at him with a devilish smile said, “Good Morning, sunshine!”

Chapter Text

The Previous Night...

Impatient and on the verge of calling the night quits before it had even begun, Riley Finn made one last ditch effort to find an open parking spot in the crowded lot at the Bronze. Had he known how many people would be crammed into the club when his friend, Forrest, had called shortly after lunch to suggest a night of drunken carousing, Riley's first thought was that it would be nice to have a night out with friends, because it had been ages since they had managed to find time to get together. However, his upbeat mood at the thought of seeing his friends was quickly dampening as he unsuccessfully navigated the parking lot once more. He was halfway towards the closest exit when he caught the flash of lights on a car out of the corner of his eye and craned his neck to see if maybe someone was leaving, but was unable to tell a thing from his current location. With a heavy sigh of annoyance, Riley bypassed the exit he was heading to and looped around the edge of the parking lot to see if maybe the vehicle in question was ready to leave yet. One more try, he promised himself, but that was it. If the spot was not empty by the time he got there, then that was a sure enough sign that a night out with the guys was not in the cards for him that evening.

Sure enough, the flashing headlights that had caught his attention had been a signal to try his luck again, but not for the reason it he had thought it was for. Nope, a flash of blonde hair caught Riley's eye and he watched with rapt attention as Buffy Summers crossed the parking lot in front of him with barely a glance at the vehicle she had just walked in front of. Nope, her line of sight was directly in front of her, solely focused on the bleach blonde man holding open the passenger door for her.

Fully expecting the man to be the watchdog he had heard she had hired, Riley's grip on the steering wheel tightened with rage as he watched her fall into the arms of the waiting man and all but climb him like a tree. Radiating with anger, Riley found that he could not stop watching as Buffy-his Buffy-allowed the man to press her back against the car, slide his hands down her lithe little body to cup them beneath her ass and lift her hips into his groin. Jaw clenched, Riley fought back a scream of rage as Buffy wrapped her legs around the man's waist to and all but fucked him right there in the mother fucking parking lot where anyone could see what she was doing.

“Dirty fucking whore,” Riley muttered to himself, punctuating the comment with a litany of curse words that were no where near the right words to describe the damned bitch. He was halfway to the idea of ramming into their sedan with his truck when they finally extricated themselves from each others arms and got into the vehicle. Clearly, even a dirty whore like Buffy Summers still had a shred of decency left, as she had not allowed the man to actually fuck her out in the open like a goddamn animal.

Without a second thought, Riley bypassed the now open slot when the car backed out, opting instead to follow behind them. He had hounded everyone he could think of to tell him where she had been hiding out since the unfortunate accident after she had found him with another woman, but no one would fess up to knowing where Buffy had been hidden away; no matter the amount of money he offered for the information. Now, it seemed like the universe was finally on his side, as he followed them at a safe distance for a longer trip than he had expected. Nearly an hour later, thanks in part to the always seemingly congested Los Angeles traffic, Riley eased to a near creeping crawl as the sedan's blinker lit up to indicate it would be turning up ahead at a gate. Creeping past, Riley watched as the gate closed behind them as they made their way up the driveway towards a massive mansion. Continuing on, Riley waited until he felt he was a safe distance away from the house, before nosing the truck off onto the shoulder of the road. He quickly locked the door and with a cautious glance around the immediate area to make sure no one was watching him, he darted back towards the house. Crouching low once he got to the white chest high fencing near the gate, he slithered into the shadows near the grate and tucked himself away near a towering shrub that helped conceal his figure.

Watching from the edge of the driveway entrance, Riley watched in disgust as the peepshow he had witnessed back at the Bronze bordered continued with even less care to the outside world that might be watching. Bordering on the precipice of full on pornography, his stomach churned as Buffy was once again pressed against the car door and pawed at by the man, his hands everywhere on her body; under her shirt, up her bare thigh and disappearing beneath her skirt. Buffy's head tilted back, her golden blonde hair spilling over the glossy black paint of the car as the man voraciously suckled along her exposed neck. Not wanting to watch, but unable to tear his gaze away, Riley waited impatiently for the embrace to end and fought off the desire to launch himself over the gate and pummel the man pawing at Buffy until not even his mother would recognize him.

With restraint he had not known he possessed, Riley managed to wait the couple out and nearly let out a cry of happiness when the man finally crawled off Buffy and allowed her to stand on her own to feet, however wobbly they seemed to be in the ridiculous heels she was wearing.

'Whore shoes,' Riley thought to himself as the couple hurriedly made their way towards the massive front door. The curse that escaped as Buffy eagerly allowed the man to paw at her once more, pressing her back against the front door to grope under her skirt yet again, was thankfully too low for the occupied couple to register, but he forced himself to regain some composure until he was alone once more.

Finally, after what seemed like another hour of watching soft core pornography, the two broke apart again made their way inside the ostentatious mansion. Out of his sight, Riley did not know if he was happy he could not watch their interlude anymore or annoyed that he could no longer keep his eye on Buffy anymore. Deciding on a little bit of both, a slow smile crept onto his face as he realized that no matter how disgusted he had been watching her all but fuck some stranger, she had unknowingly led Riley straight to where she had been hiding from him. Overjoyed at the change of luck the night had brought him, Riley whistled a jaunty tune as he made his way back towards his truck.

However, his gleeful mood had lasted only as long as it took him to make his way back home. The sight of the picture above his fireplace, an engagement portrait of himself and Buffy, had ratcheted his good mood down a few pegs and led him straight to the bottle of whiskey sitting on the kitchen counter. Half empty, the fifth had held more than enough amber colored liquor to call forth the rage in his heart and spiral him into a fit of uncontrolled rage.

“Fucking whore,” Riley screamed, thoroughly seething from the unwanted images of Buffy being fucked by some bleach blonde stranger. He grabbed hold of the portrait above the fireplace, the only intact photo of Buffy that remained in the home, and sent it flying across the room to where it shattered against the wall and fell to the floor. Upending the nearby love seat that the two of them had spent an entire Saturday shopping for, he grunted with the effort and cursed as it flipped over to spill its cushions onto the floor. “Who the fuck does she think she is? God damned slut has no right to treat me this way!”

Spying the corner of a photograph sticking out from beneath a cushion, he snatched it off the floor and flipped it over to discover Buffy's smiling face staring back at him. Unable to escape her even in his fit of drunken madness, Riley felt a tear leak out of the corner of his eye and slowly roll down his cheek as he studied the image. It had been taken at Christmas, way back to when they were happy and she was not currently touring. They had flown to England to visit her family for the holidays and Joyce had snapped the picture as they decorated the tree with Dawn. Buffy's smile was as bright as the lights on the Christmas tree, her golden curls shone in the twinkling lights and her arms were wrapped around him as he leaned down to kiss her blushing cheek.

Thinking back, Riley realized that had been the last time that he had been truly happy and sadness filled his heart; a sadness that he wanted no part of, because sadness just made him weak and weak, he was not. Crushing the image in his meaty palm, he tossed it to the ground to lay by the scattered pillows and cushions and picked up the nearly empty bottle on the table to drown the remaining dregs of whiskey from its depths. Screaming, he felt nothing but the sadness that he wanted rid of as he threw the now empty bottle into the fireplace and sank to his knees as it shattered against the bricks.

Images of Buffy, of the time they had been in love, plagued his heart and his memories. He wanted nothing more than to have her in his arms, his life, his heart again, but he had screwed that chance up royally. As much as he wanted to blame her for everything that had gone wrong in their relationship, Riley could only find blame for himself in every reflection of their broken love story; that it had been his anger, his infidelity and him alone for ruining what they had had together. As Riley sank to the floor in a mess of tears, the alcohol in his system let him beg for her forgiveness and hope for a chance to right the wrongs he had inflicted upon Buffy.

Chapter Text

The next morning started out as deliciously naughty as the day before, but with one twist. This time, as the sun crept into the bedroom to light the room in a hazy golden glow, it was Spike who naughtily explored the nude body of a slumbering Buffy, instead of the other way around. Tousled bleach blonde hair poked out from beneath the rumpled sheets as he rousted her from her sleep by licking, teasing and yes, even sometimes nibbling, the sensitive area between her thighs; slowly yet surely waking her to the point that she screamed out his name with her hands fisted in the sheets. By the time she released her hold on the bedding and faced the morning with sleepy eyes and a satisfied grin plastered on her face, Spike had already buried himself deep inside of her and was well on his way to ripping another scream from her as her body shook with pleasure around him.

Eventually, and quite regretfully, they had to untangle themselves from one another and the twisted bedding and satiate another type of hunger; that of the stomach and less of the desire they had for another. While Buffy cleaned herself up in the opulent bathroom that adjoined the master suite, Spike settled for letting the smell of her cling to his skin and headed downstairs to whip up something for them to eat. By the time she made her way to the black and white kitchen that sparkled in the mid-day sun that streamed in through massive floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the ocean, he had breakfast made for them, regardless of the fact that it was closer to lunch than morning. With plates heaping with scrambled eggs, bacon, fresh fruit and buttered toast, Spike settled them both at the glass kitchen table where a ravenous Buffy polished off the food faster than he thought a woman of her size could manage.

“You still hungry, pet?” Spike asked after swallowing a forkful of eggs and washing them down with a sip of black coffee. “Could make you more if you'd like. Gonna need the energy this afternoon.”

“Oh, really?” Buffy asked with a smirk as she polished off her glass of orange juice. “And here I thought you might be tired after this morning.”

“Don't worry, I'll still have enough in me for another round or two tonight, but that's not what I've got planned for you after we eat.” Spike chuckled at the confusion in Buffy's gaze as he popped a strawberry half into his mouth. “Part of my job is making sure my clients can take care of themselves when my contract runs out, unless they plan on hiring another firm full time. I'm the short term man, in and out once the immediate threat is neutralized. Today's your first lesson, pet.”

The look on Buffy's face was enough to have him reconsidering his contractual obligations, at least as far as the self defense training was concerned. Petite, but not overly physically fit, Buffy had maintained the same figure she'd had in high school with a demanding schedule, the occasional dance fitness video and little to eat on most days, which was nowhere near the training schedule that Spike normally had; the one that had fallen slap to pieces once he had taken on the task of her personal safety and one that he fully intended to get back on track immediately,

Grumbling at her muttered curse, he washed down the last of his coffee and said, “Not to worry, pet. Don't plan on wearing you out so bad that I can't have my way with you afterwards.”

“How about you have your way with me now? That's cardio, right? Surely that counts as cardio,” Buffy asked, tempting him to pass on the gym time and caveman style carry her upstairs to take her up on the offer. “And, maybe yoga, because stretching. Sex is a full on workout, you know?”

Holding firm to his resolve to get back into the gym and fulfill all of his contractual obligations, Spike placed the dirty dishes into the dishwasher and instead, caveman style carried Buffy towards the gym in the lower level of the Malibu home. Although Cordelia's family rarely spent much time outside of the occasional vacation at the expensive residence, they had spared no expense in filling every room with top of the line furniture, decorations and amenities, including top of the line gym equipment. As the lights flickered on overhead, Spike carefully eased Buffy down from where she dangled over his shoulder and visually took in what the mirrored room had to offer. Mentally forming a fitness plan, he decided to start her out slowly and motioned her towards a section of the room that was large enough for the two of them to work through a series of stretches to warm up before having her do a circuit of light weights that focused on upper body strength and finally leading her towards a treadmill for the last portion of their workout, focusing on several intervals of medium paced jogging, before slowing her pace for a cool down.

“One last thing,” Spike said as he placed the light weights she had used back on to the stands and chuckled at the pained groan that Buffy elicited as she sank down onto the floor. Walking over to her, he held out a hand and said, “You're done for the day, pet. I promise. Just gonna put you in the hot tub for a bit while I do my own workout. It'll help keep you from hurting too bad tomorrow.”

“Now that is definitely Buffy approved,” she said, still breathless from her workout, as she allowed him to pull her up from the floor. Once she was on her feet, she eyeballed him and said, “You're evil, by the way. That was way harder than I expected it to be. I fully intend on kicking your sexy ass when I regain feeling in my arms and the rest of my body doesn't feel like it's been beaten with a baseball bat.”

“Not that your threat doesn't strike fear in my heart, but I do promise to kiss every inch of that aching body later, if that helps you feel any better,” Spike said as he helped strip the clothes from her sweaty body; punctuating his promise with an early preview as he kissed along the curve of her neck. “Unless you're gonna be too mad at me for that.”

Glancing at him from the corner of her eye, Spike saw the heat in her gaze flare up at the thought of having him kiss every square inch of her body. “I think concessions could be made,” she murmured as he slid his hands down her body to remove her shorts. “Yes, yes, I think we could definitely come to some type of agreement.”

“Do you have any idea how sexy you are?” Spike asked softly, as he stared at her reflection in the multitude of mirrors in the room; her naked skin tanned and sweaty beneath his hands as they traveled over her body and left it in a wake of goosebumps. Dipping his head down, he pressed a kiss to her shoulder and trailed his affection up the curve of her neck to whisper in her ear, “You got any clue how much I want you?”

No doubt she could tell how attracted he was to her physically, as the evidence of that desire was pressing against her back, eager to bury itself inside her tight little body once more. But, what she did not know what how much he wanted her to be his and just his. How much he wanted her to love him, to want him, to need him as much as he had come to want all those things from her? The thought of laying his heart out in the open to her was terrifying, as the last time he had done so had left him broken and just the thought of going through that misery again was almost too painful to risk again. But, what he could do was show her how much he needed her, how much he wanted her, how much he cared for her, and how much his body desired her. Shivering at the thought of burying himself inside her body once more, Spike trailed a hand down her body to settle at the juncture of her thighs, teasing the light brown curls that ever so gently hid the sweet nub that his fingers sought out.

“Spike, I'm all sweaty,” Buffy breathed, protesting but not so much so that he even remotely paused his exploration with his fingers.

Licking along the curve of her neck, Spike grinned evilly at her in the mirror and said, “Nice and salty, love.” Grabbing her hips, he guided her towards the nearest wall of mirrors, grabbed her hands and pressed the palms against the cool reflective surface. “You're gonna be even sweatier when I'm finished with you. No point in showering just yet.”

Removing his hands from hers with strict orders not to move them away from the mirror, Spike shoved down the elastic waistband of the black jogging pants he had donned for the workout and pulled out his more than eager dick before catching Buffy's heated, curious gaze staring back at him in the mirror. With one hand on her hip, he nudged himself into her from behind, earning a low moan of pleasure from Buffy's throat as he worked himself inside of her wet, tight body. To hell with his workout, Spike thought as he dug his fingers into her hips as he fucked her against the mirror. Buffy was right after all, sex surely counted as a thorough fitness program.

As Buffy came apart in a boisterous scream of pleasure, quaking in his arms and around his dick, Spike followed her right over the edge half a second before they both slithered to the ground to lay in a satisfied heap as they both fought to catch their breath and calm their rapidly beating hearts. Naked in all her sweaty glory, Spike relished the sight of Buffy laying on the ground beside him and fought back the words that were eagerly trying to escape his heart and he leaned close enough to press a kiss to her lips, before those three words that were on the tip of his tongue slipped out. With a smile he said, “Now you can get that shower, pet.”

Finding worry in her green gaze instead of that happy, satisfied glow she'd had when she looked at him in the mirror, he asked, “What's wrong?”

“It's nothing,” Buffy replied with absolutely zero conviction in her words. When he simply glared at her with one eyebrow cocked disbelievingly she sat up, crawled as gracefully as someone could without clothes on to grab her fallen shirt and added as she slipped it over her head, “It's just that I'm all with the nakedness and you're not.”

“That easy enough to remedy,” Spike replied as he toed off his sneakers and lifted his hips high enough off the floor to slide off his pants. When the sight of him fully nude didn't make the disconcerting glimmer disappear from her eyes, he rolled over on to his side and propped his head up on his hand, “Seriously, love, what's wrong?”

“It's just, I was wondering if maybe, you know,” Buffy stammered while she struggled to not only find her words but avoid his gaze by looking anywhere else in the room but at him. With a deep breath, she found what she was struggling to say and blurted out, “Do you do this with all the women you work for?”

Suddenly wishing he had not chucked his pants, feeling far too exposed for such a serious conversation, Spike fought off the urge to take the time to fully dress himself and just got straight to the answer. “No, I don't. Not all of them. There's been a few, sure, but it's not something I make a habit of doing. Does that bother you? That there's been others?”

“A little, honestly,” she answered after a beat of uncomfortable silence. “I get it though, I mean have you looked at you? I can see why women would want to jump into bed with you. It's just that, well, I'm not all that comfortable with the arrangement, I guess? I mean, I don't know all that much about you and you basically work for me and all. It's just a little weird and makes me feel a little like Slutty Buffy and all.”

“I don't have to work for you, love.” Spike sat up and grabbed hold of his pants, standing up long enough to slide them on before sitting back down beside Buffy, who was looking at him like he had just left her standing at the alter alone. “Not what you're thinking. It's just I don't have to work for you, we can toss out the contract and you can fire me. I'll still be here, still keep you safe. I don't need the money.”

And that was true, he had more than enough money to support himself without actually working for Buffy. Hell, there was enough work he could do via telephone and computer to keep himself financially employed without leaving the house if he so chose. Reaching out, he took hold of her ankles and eased her close enough so that her legs were straddling his; close enough to be near him without actually being in his lap. “Now that that's settled, what would you like to know? Ask away.”

“Well, um, I guess we could start with your actual name? I mean, I know your last name is Worthington, because of the paychecks, but it's made out to Worthington Security and all, but I'm guessing your mom didn't name you Spike?” Buffy asked, the worry in her gaze lessened now that they got the whole issue of her being his employer out of the way. “I guess she could have, I mean, it's not like my name is all that common and all, but is it?”

“Love, the man associated with my given name no longer exists, therefore it's irrelevant, right?” Spike all but ground out the words and realized how harsh it sounded when Buffy visibly flinched at the anger in his voice. Apologizing, he said, “I'm sorry, didn't mean for that to come out so harshly, but it's not who I am now. But, if it's so important to you, it's William.”

“William,” Buffy murmured softly, as though tasting the sound of his given name on her lips; a name that he had no intention of going by ever again, but he let her say it without correcting her. “I like it. Thank you for telling me. I, um, I guess you're not ready to tell me why you aren't William anymore, so we'll save that for another day.” Leaning forward, she captured his lips in a kiss that had his cock twitching with excitement once more and Spike wondered when the day would come that his body would not light up from even the simplest bit of attention from her, but she pulled her lips away before he could take advantage of the desire coursing through his veins. Standing up, Buffy held out her hand to him and said, “Now, how about that shower?”

Chapter Text

Thoroughly ensconced in the land of dreams, Buffy was not the one to be rudely awakened by the shrill ringing of the telephone at such an early hour; the sun having only woken for the day barely an hour earlier. Mumbling a sleep roughened hello into the phone, he was coherent enough to understand that the person on the other end was asking for Buffy. When he finally managed to wake her and thrust the phone towards her, only to roll over to no doubt return to sleep without bothering to tell her who was on the other end, she groggily murmured, “Hello? Buffy speaking.”

“Good morning, Ms. Summers, this is Assistant District Attorney Mitchell. I am sorry to bother you at such an early hour, but I do have news regarding your case. Are you free to talk now?”

“Um, yes, I am,” she answered as she struggled to clear the sleep fog that was still present. Pulling herself into a seated position, back pressed against the cushioned headboard, she asked, “Case? I thought that had been settled? Riley changed his plea not a week ago to guilty, did he not? I thought my part was done until the sentencing.”

“Yes, well, that was very well the case until his attorney's stepped in and demanded a psychological evaluation and fouled everything up.” The ADA paused momentarily, no doubt to read through the papers on his desk in front of him, judging by the sound of paper being rustled about. Murmuring, he said, “Give me just a moment to read this once more to make sure I have my facts correct.”

Before he could find what it was he was looking for exactly, Buffy crawled out of bed and pulled on the silk robe tossed over the back of a nearby chair with shaky hands. Going to trial was the very last thing she wanted to do, because doing so meant having to relive every horrible second of that night in front of a jury, not to mention the fact that her little sister would have to do the same. They would both be dissected by Riley's defense team and while she might be strong enough, brave enough to do so herself, Buffy had no desire to put Dawn through the torment. Without waiting for the attorney to locate whatever it was he was searching for, Buffy demanded answers, “What went wrong, Mr. Mitchell?”

Rubbing at her eyes with her free hand, she wiped away the vestiges of sleep and the tears of anger and frustration that had sprang up while she waited for an answer. Pacing around the bedroom, the lush carpet warm and comfortable to her bare feet, she met the worried cerulean gaze of Spike, who was now sitting quite literally on the edge of the bed; his nudity less distracting than it should have been under different circumstances. Walking over to him, she took a tiny bit of comfort at the feel of his arm around her body and listened with as much patience as she could as the attorney filled her in on how everything went wrong.

“As you know, Mr. Finn contacted our office without speaking with his attorney's first and started the ball rolling with changing his plea to guilty. After his defense team at Wolfram and Hart got wind of the motion change, they managed to get a judge to order a psychiatric evaluation, by stating that he was not only mentally unfit to change the motion, much less stand trial due to extensive drug use and violent behavior that they believed to be tied to a mental defect and not the narcotic use,” Mr. Mitchell explained, pausing long enough to mutter to someone in his office before returning to the conversation. “Upon examination, the doctor assigned to the case by the courts found that he does, in fact, have a previously undiagnosed chemical imbalance in his brain that can cause rage problems basically and therefore, the judge assigned to your case accepted the defense's plea of not guilty due to mental instability or non compos mentis, which in layman's terms, means while he is guilty of the assault on you and your sister, he cannot be legally held accountable due to his altered mental status at the time of the incident.

Ms. Summers, I am truly sorry that you and your sister are going to have to go to trial for this case, but there is a sliver of hope in regards to the ruling in regards to his mental state. It means that while he was not sane at the time of the assault, he is more than competent to stand trial now. It means that if we can prove that he knew full well what he was doing was wrong and that he is guilty, we can go for a longer sentencing period.”

When the attorney stopped speaking and the full weight of the news sank in, Buffy's head was spinning as she sank down onto the bed beside Spike, whose expression had gone from concerned to full tilt worried the longer the conversation carried on. Holding on to his hand for support, Buffy thought about one point the attorney had mentioned and asked, “I'm sorry, Mr. Mitchell, but this is kind of hard to take in all at once. Did you say extensive drug use? Riley didn't use drugs, I would have noticed, wouldn't I?”

“Family and friends are some times oblivious to the fact, either by choice or ignorance to the behaviors, but yes, Riley not only admitted to us, but to the doctor that he used drugs almost daily for the past year. Plus, a blood test was administered after he was arrested, for DNA purposes, and I have the results, which show that he had a large dose of both cocaine and steroids in his system at the time of the test. He had a second test done during his psychological evaluation, to substantiate his attorney's motion that they contributed to his diminished mental state at the time of the assault. It was also noted that in conjunction to the drugs that he continues to use, he consumes quite a large amount of alcohol on a daily basis.” Mr. Mitchell paused yet again to say something else to the person in the room with him, before continuing, “Anyway, we can go over anything else as the trial date approaches. I will need you and your sister to come down to the office closer to the start date to go over your statements and prep you both for trial.”

“Sure, that won't be a problem,” Buffy muttered, barely listening to the attorney as thoughts raced through her busy mind. How could she have been so oblivious to Riley's drug and alcohol abuse? Sure, she had been on the road a lot before the assault, but what about before then? Had he only fallen so far down the pit of despair when she had left him behind for the tour? Was she more to blame than she had thought? Shaking away the darkness of her thoughts, adamantly refusing to believe that she nor her little sister had done anything to deserve the beatings they had endured at Riley's hands and asked, “When do you think the trial will start?”

“I'd say if everything goes smoothly from here on out and Mr. Finn and his team don't throw any more kinks in the system, we should be looking at six to eight weeks maybe? Possibly the start of September, but that's just a guess on my part. I will, of course, keep in touch and if anything changes you will be the first to know.”

“Thank you, Mr. Mitchell. I appreciate you taking the time to go over all of this with me,” Buffy replied almost mechanically as the tears she did not want to shed stung behind her closed lids. Taking a deep breath, she hung up the phone after saying goodbye and let them flow, despite the hatred she felt for doing so. She was more than tired of crying over Riley Finn and what he had taken from her, but the feel of Spike's arms closing around her body reminded Buffy of what he had unknowingly granted her. If her relationship with Riley had not fallen apart, she would not have found Spike again and it was that tiny thought that had a smile spreading in spite of the tears that continued to stream down her cheeks.

“You want to tell me about it, love?” Spike asked as he pulled her into his lap and started to meticulously wipe away the moisture of her tears. “I gather that was the attorney handling your case?”

Nodding, she lifted her hands to his and took hold of them as she leaned forward to press a kiss to his lips. Pulling back, Buffy looked into his worry filled gaze and said, “Regardless of what happened, I hope you know that I'm glad it led me to you.”

“I am, too,” Spike said slowly, his voice more than cautious at her revelation that had to sound odd, given the timing of her saying it after the phone call. “What's this about, love? You going somewhere? Leaving me already?”

“Of course not! Don't even think that, Spike,” Buffy chastised as she added another kiss to his lips, this one a bit longer than the last. She wanted the moments with him to last longer and the time spent worrying about Riley and the pending case to take up less of her mind, but until they were both settled, Buffy had no doubt that her mind would be consumed by her ex and the trial. Extracting herself from his lap, Buffy crawled back to her sleeping spot and motioned for Spike to join her beneath the covers. Maybe, just maybe, after she explained what her attorney had said, they could go back to sleep soon.

And they did, go back to sleep once she told him how things had changed with the case. Snuggled against Spike, his chest pressed against her bare back, because of course he had divested her of the silken robe for them to try to go back to sleep, Buffy smiled in spite of the upsetting phone call. She smiled, because she had not lied to Spike about her feelings about finding their way back to one another. Buffy smiled, because Spike had brought her happiness in spite of the turmoil and pain that Riley had caused her.

Chapter Text

Later that evening, Buffy was standing in the midst of the aftermath of a clothing disaster when the doorbell chimed to let her know that her dinner guests had arrived, despite the fact that she had yet to decide on an outfit for the gathering. Poking her head out of the closet, fully prepared to scream at the top of her lungs to Spike, but found him coming out of the neighboring bathroom and toned down her verbal assault, “Can you get the door? I'm still not dressed.”

“It's just dinner with our mates, love. No need to fret this much over something to wear,” Spike replied with an amused lilt to his voice and shake of his head. Walking over to her, he grabbed her chin and brought her mouth to his before continuing, “But, yes, I'll even keep our guests occupied until your clothed. Or, better yet, we can tell them to sod off and do something that requires no clothing.”

“While that sounds very tempting, I shall remind you that this shindig was your idea and go back to trying on every bit of clothing that I brought with me to see if anything works,” Buffy retorted with a smile, knowing full well that he wouldn't turn away their guests in favor of returning to bed for the umpteenth time that day, or well, she was almost certain he would not. Given how often they had tumbled into one another's arms as of late, Buffy was beginning to think that they were both addicted to sex and might need to seek out counseling so that they could get other things accomplished. Things, like writing new material for her band or the self defense that Spike felt she needed to learn, but neither of those sounded as appealing to Buffy as climbing on top of Spike yet again. Blushing, she shooed him out of the bedroom and returned to the closet to sort through the explosion of clothes once more.

Settling on a simple scoop necked black tank top with sequins sprinkled along the neckline and a pair of jeans, Buffy wondered for the billionth time if she needed something fancier, but had to tell herself that despite the fact that Spike needed some time alone with the guys to discuss security matters, the festivities for the evening really was just a dinner with friends. One that she had set up after Spike had mentioned needing to get together with Angel, Wesley and Gunn to discuss the change in Buffy's case, which had caused Buffy to steamroll the meeting into a dinner party with friends. Slipping her feet into a pair of simple black flats, she hurried out the bedroom door and clamored down the stairs to greet the small group of friends that were just heading from the foyer towards the living room.

After greeting everyone, Buffy motioned Cordelia and Fred towards the back porch instead of the living room where the guys were setting up shop to discuss her ongoing security options, proclaiming a need for girl talk while the guys were busy. Thankful that Spike had mentioned this to her beforehand and had even taken the time to make sure there was wine ready and waiting for them, Buffy poured three glasses of the fruity red wine and motioned for her friends to have a seat. “I don't know why I'm playing the hostess tonight when this is your family's home, Cord. Feels a little weird to be offering you something to drink and a place to sit.”

Waving off Buffy comments with a nonchalant flick of the hand, Cordelia said, “You've now stayed in this house longer than I have, Buff. My parents bought this one a year or so a go and I've yet to really spend much time here. Plus, consider this place your home away from home until you get things with Riley dealt with.” Pausing to take a sip of wine, Cordelia asked, “Other than the obvious issues with Riley, how goes things with Spike?”

“Things are good. We are very much with the goodness,” Buffy replied, her cheeks reddening with a rosy hue as she took a gulp of wine; knowing full well what her nosy friend was implying. Trying to divert the topic of conversation, Buffy glanced at Fred and asked, “How's things in the world of physics?” But, before Fred could answer and then have to explain her answer, because lets face it, Buffy would never understand a thing in Fred's line of work, Cordelia butted in.

“No ma'am, you don't get to play all hush hush with me, Buff,” Cordelia chastised, interrupting Fred before she could even get out a syllable. “I'm an old married woman, remember? I live vicariously through you, my single friend. Now spill with all the juicy details that I know you're holding out on, because Angel already spilled the beans about no longer being officially employed by you because you were uncomfortable about it since you two were involved. So get to it, tell me all the yummy bits.”

“I cannot believe he told Angel! Color me embarrassed,” Buffy exclaimed, mortification rising up her neck to fully paint her cheeks a deep dark red. Taking a sip of wine, she waved a hand over her burning face as though that might help ease the flame of embarrassment, she swallowed and slyly asked, “Why are you so interested in any of Spike's yummy bits? You are married after all, not so much with the old, but still very married.”

“Yeah, married, not dead, my dear. And, I am very much not blind either and that man is deliciously hot. If I weren't married, I'd have tried to climb on that horse a long time ago.”

“I wouldn't say he's a horse, but he's definitely not small,” Buffy blurted out, the small amount of wine in her system bringing out the bold statement. While she drank from time to time, she was very much a light weight and it did not take much more than a few sips of any alcoholic beverage to have her tongue looser than it normally would be. Laughing at Fred's wide eyed expression and the choked gurgle that escaped Cordelia's mouth, Buffy shrugged and stated, “What? You asked about his bits, didn't you?”

“So you two are seeing each other? Officially, I mean?” Fred asked as she took a very ladylike sip of wine, not gulping down half the glass in one fail swoop like Cordelia had done. “You guys definitely have chemistry, you can feel it even though we were barely in the room with the two of you for more than a few minutes.”

“Officially, I guess? It's not like we proclaimed boyfriend and girlfriend status, but we are having the sex and he's not on the payroll anymore, so I guess so?” Buffy shrugged, not knowing how to clearly define the relationship between herself and Spike. It was all so new and after everything that happened with Riley, she was not eager to declare official roles and move too quickly. “We're together to an extent, I guess. I'm happy with how we're going now and it's not like I'm looking to jump into anything too serious right away.”

Reaching for her glass of wine, only to find it empty, Buffy reached for the bottle on the table and poured what was left of it into her glass. Realizing Cordelia's glass was also on the dry side, she got up and grabbed a second bottle from the bar across the patio and an opener, handing both to her friend to open. “I'm not great with the wine opener. It hates me.”

“No worries, I'm a professional,” Cordelia assured her as she deftly opened the bottle and refilled her glass without bothering to allow the wine to breathe. Holding out the bottle towards Fred, Cordelia noticed there was barely a dent in the contents and said, “Lady, you'd better hurry up if you want any of this bottle before dinner is ready.”

“I'm good, you know it doesn't take much to have me sloshed and I've got to work tomorrow,” Fred assured Cordelia. “We just started a new contract and I don't want to be hungover when we start our team meeting tomorrow.”

“Suit yourself,” Cordelia said as she put the bottle back on the table. Taking a sip, she wiggled her red tipped fingers in Buffy's direction and said, “You there, start spilling the details. I want to hear everything about you and Spike. How'd it start? Who made the first move? All the good stuff.”

“Fine, you win,” Buffy said, pretending to relent under pressure, when in reality she was eager to tell her friends everything from the first time she and Spike had kissed all the way to the way he had made her toes curl earlier that afternoon before they had started getting ready for dinner. After giving them the quick rundown, knowing they did not have all that much time before the guys would be done and ready to eat, Buffy sighed and smiled dreamily, “So, that's it. The quick version, obviously, but you get the gist.”

“Wow, it's like the two of you were totally destined for one another,” Fred said with a smile when Buffy was finished. Placing her now empty glass on the table by the equally as empty bottle, she drawled, “Do you ever wonder what would have been had you two not been interrupted that first night at Caritas? Things could have went so differently for you.”

“I have and honestly, I don't want to really think about all that,” Buffy admitted, letting her now empty glass join Fred's on the table. Glancing towards the windows that looked into the living room, to where the guys were still sitting and presumably discussing Buffy's security needs and said, “What if we'd hit it off and I that somehow that made me miss out on other things like the band, maybe not touring or something? I don't know if stuff like that really happens, like fate or something? What matters is that we did find our way back to one another, in spite of all the shit that happened with Riley. I'm going to be happy and with Spike even though all that happened, so it worked out, right?”

“Okay, somehow this discussion of Spike's yummy bits took a turn towards the serious and it's killing my buzz. We need more wine!” Cordelia announced as she pushed herself up off the blue and white stripped couch, making sure she was stable before carrying out her goal of finding more wine. “And probably we need to find something to eat, because I have to close one eye or Buffy is a little fuzzy.”

“Let's go see if dinner is ready yet,” Buffy proclaimed, agreeing with Cordelia on the need to find something to soak up some of the alcohol in her otherwise empty stomach. Thinking back, she could not recall if she'd even eaten lunch that day or if she and Spike had skipped right over it in favor of having sex in the pool; which honestly seemed more likely as of late.

Luckily, by the time the trio picked up their empty glasses and bottles, they entered the back door at about the same time the guys were standing up from the overstuffed couches in the living room and the kitchen timer dinged shortly after the back door was closed, signaling that dinner was ready. Ushering their guests to towards the formal dining room, instead of the kitchen table, Buffy set about getting drinks for everyone while Spike headed towards the kitchen to get the food dishes. When he returned with a large covered dish and set it on the center of the glass table, Buffy couldn't help but catch the look that Angel and Cordelia shared and said, “I didn't cook it, guys. It was one time, a very long time ago and you're still not going to let me live that night down, are you?”

“It's a hard night to forget, don't you think?” Angel asked with a chuckle that earned him a steely glare from Buffy, so he covered up the rest of his amused snickering by taking a sip of the whiskey and cola he had brought to the table with him from the living room. “Come on, Buff, even you have to admit that it was pretty funny.”

“What was pretty funny?” Spike asked as he returned with the last tray of food, a dish of sauteed mushrooms that would compliment the rack of lamb, roasted asparagus and creamy garlic mashed potatoes that were already on the table with a basket of piping hot rolls. Buffy's mouth watered at the sight of all the deliciously smelling food and wondered how Spike had managed to whip it all up as though it was the easiest thing in the world.

“Nothing, just Angel and Cordy refusing to forget embarrassing moments in Buffy history,” Buffy replied with only the faintest hint of actual embarrassment tinging her cheeks. While the incident in question was years ago and she had mostly forgotten about the fiasco, she couldn't help but be upset that her friends were choosing to make fun of her for it yet again and doing so in front of Spike.

“Hey, lesson learned that night though, am I right?” Angel asked, either oblivious to how much Buffy didn't want to discuss the matter in front of Wesley and Fred and especially, Spike, or he didn't care that he was embarrassing her by talking about it. Buffy chose to believe that Angel didn't realize how much her lack of culinary skills bothered her, because he barreled into the story without a thought to her red tinged cheeks and glare that she shot in his direction. “It was for Dawn's birthday, right? That seems right, it's been a while, but Buffy wanted to have this big celebratory dinner for her little sis for getting her drivers license and everyone was there; Joyce, Rupert, Willow and Tara, me and Cordelia, and a couple of Dawn's friends over with explicit instructions to show up promptly for dinner at seven on the dot. So, we're all gathered around the living room waiting for the okay to come to the table and all of the sudden there was this loud explosion from the kitchen!”

“And that's where we found Buffy, covered in the dinner she had been working so hard on,” Cordelia chimed in, giggling as she took over the story from her husband. “Chicken and rice covered the ceiling, the floor, the cabinets and our Buffy! You see, she didn't realize that you had to release the pressure build up on the pressure cooker!”

Thoroughly laughing now, Cordelia paused to take a sip of her water while Angel took over the story once more, “You should have seen the dumbfounded look on Buffy's face. I really wish I'd had a camera to capture it, would've have made a great photo to laugh over later. But, really, while we didn't get to eat the chicken and rice, it at least smelled good. I can't say the same for the garlic bread! Burnt to a crisp to the point that the smoke alarm started going off thanks to the smoke coming from the oven. Man, thank goodness for pizza delivery, am I right?”

“And that concludes that embarrassing moment in my life,” Buffy murmured as she plunked a roll on her plate before passing the basket to Wesley. Sliding a glance towards Spike, she asked only slightly jokingly, “Guess you won't be asking me to play the role of Domestic Goddess any time soon, huh?”

“Actually, love, it sounds like you were trying your best to do something sweet for your kid sister and had a slight, albeit messy, mishap. Could happen to anyone, really,” Spike said earnestly, as he sliced off a section of roasted lamb for her and placed it on her plate. “And, should you ever decided to go through all the trouble for me, then I will gladly eat whatever is on my plate and keep my grateful, bleeding gob shut.”

After Spike's very pointed comment, all discussion of what Buffy could or could not do in regards to cooking, Fred thankfully moved the conversation towards something Buffy could do quite well and that was sing. “So, Buffy, have you been able to get much work done lately? Or has that been put on the back burner while you deal with everything else?”

“Um, well, as a whole we've not been able to practice,” Buffy replied before putting a delectable forkful of lamb and potatoes in her mouth, chewing and swallowing before continuing. “Oz has been backpacking through Europe for over a month. Xander took Anya away to some island in the Caribbean for an extended vacation. And, while Faith has been the only one on this side of the world, we've barely seen one another. I think she's managed to squeeze in a couple visits between the two guys she's currently seeing.”

“So you've not been able to work at all? That's got to be frustrating,” Wesley inquired as he methodically cut his portion of lamb into manageable pieces.

“Actually, I have somehow found the time to do some work. I've gotten a few new songs written out, nothing put to actual music, but I think I've got the lyrics sorted out. I'm hoping everyone gets back to California soon, so we can get some music laid down and get into the studio.” Buffy paused long enough to take a sip of wine and grab another roll from the basket, plopping it directly into the gravy the sauteed mushrooms made when mixed with the juices from the lamb. Ravenous, deciding that she really did skip lunch after all, she tore off a portion of the gravy soaked roll and stuck it into her mouth, speaking around the food in a very unladylike manner, “We've got a two album contract, so we really need to get to work soon if we want to get the second one hashed out and recorded in time.”

“I sure hope everyone gets back soon then, because I can't wait to hear the new songs,” Fred said eagerly as she delicately put a small piece of asparagus in her mouth, chewing thoroughly before continuing; unlike Buffy, who was not only slightly inebriated, but had not been raised in Texas and had etiquette shoved down her throat from day one. “I remember the first time I saw your band play. It was at that club, oh what's it called, the Hellmouth? Oh, I was hooked during the first song, despite the music not being my typical cup of tea. But man, Spike was smitten from the get go. Poor thing was practically drooling on the table while you performed.”

Glancing to her right at Spike, Buffy said, “I can't believe you were there. That is so weird. Honestly, how many times did we just somehow manage to miss one another?”

“Probably more than you realize, pet,” Spike said cryptically, earning a questioning glance from Buffy that had him explaining further. “That night at Caritas, that wasn't the first time I'd seen you. That was actually back several months before when I was doing security for a band that you opened for, although I missed hearing you play. I did, however, spend the a big portion of my night watching you dance for the band I was supposed to be working for. Quite taken with you from then on out.”

“Guess that explains why you were so forward that night at Caritas,” Buffy pointed out with a smile that bordered on saucy as she thought back to that particular night and bathroom.

“Well, I have to say that it's a good thing you only saw her dance and not that magazine shoot the band did, because man, that was so not something Buffy would usually do, but she did it well,” Cordelia interjected with a low whistle as she reached for the closest bottle of wine. “Spike, you'd have humped her right then and there on the bar, instead of the bathroom, otherwise!”

“Cordelia!” Buffy exclaimed, shocked at the forwardness of her friend. While Cordelia was often overly opinionated, she at least tended to not be so salacious when doing so, especially not in a manner that might embarrass someone.

“You told them about that night, kitten?” Spike asked, genuinely sounding surprised that she would have ever mentioned the night in the bathroom at Caritas to anyone. When Buffy nodded and mentioned that of course she told her closest friends, he added, “I've got to agree with Cordelia on that one though. It was quite the photo shoot, love. Bloody sexy really.”

“So you saw it? And liked it?” Buffy asked, curious despite the flaming red embarrassment on her cheeks that seemed to refuse to go away that night. “Riley blew a gasket when he saw it and not in a good way. I should have realized he had anger issues after the fight we had when he saw it.”

“Yeah, well, Riley is a sodding tosser, so can't say I'd expect anything less from him,” Spike pointed out as he popped the last bite of lamb into his mouth and chewed. “You could say I liked it well enough. Had to buy a second copy, if you get what I'm saying.”

“Spike!” Buffy exclaimed, as embarrassed at having her friends hear what he'd said as she was turned on that he'd said it. Realizing that her cheeks were forever going to stay red with embarrassment, she chugged the remaining dregs of wine from her glass and considered having another while Cordelia laughed at Spike comment and the others at the table guffawed. “I cannot believe you just said that. I may die now.”

Spike simply shrugged his shoulders, either oblivious to her discomfort or pleased with it as he took a sip of wine. Leaning towards her, he brushed a kiss across her flamed cheek and said, “You asked, pet.”

Chapter Text

Midnight was but a handful of minutes away by the time their guests made their way out the door; Angel all but pushing an intoxicated and talkative Cordelia over the threshold, while Wesley followed behind with a slumbering Fred in his arms. The evening had passed quicker than Buffy had expected, as conversation had flowed as easily as the bottles of wine had been consumed, leaving her well beyond tipsy, but far from exhausted. Therefore, as soon as Spike closed the front door and announced that he was going to do his usual lap around the house to make sure everything was locked tight, she darted up the stairs with one thing on her on her mind and that thing certainly was not the mound of dirty dishes that would just have to wait until morning to be dealt with.

By the time Spike made his way upstairs, Buffy stepped out of the bathroom in time to catch him as he turned away from the bedroom door. His mouth agape at the sight of her, Buffy smiled lasciviously as she walked towards him slowly, seductively sashaying across the plush carpet until she was close enough to reach out and press a hand to his chest. Looking up, she blinked innocently and coyly asked, “So, you like it?”

“Like it? I bloody love it,” Spike stammered after a moment of shocked silence, his indigo blue eyes wandering over the outfit she had managed to hastily throw on in his short absence. He licked his lips and hungrily eyeballed the outfit she had quickly changed into as Buffy navigated him backwards towards the chair that was normally tucked beneath the dressing table, but had been pulled out on her way to the closet.

Stepping between Spike's spread thighs, Buffy glanced over her shoulder as she slowly turned around in a circle to allow him to appreciate the outfit she had saved from the magazine photo shoot from every angle. Clad in what could only been described as Naughty Schoolgirl attire, Buffy had barely managed to scrape her blonde locks into pigtails that were almost evenly braided while shoving her feet into black patent Mary Jane's before Spike had come into the bedroom. Now, despite what she had previously thought to be a sloppy appearance, she felt radiantly sexy in Spike's heavy lidded gaze. Lifting her shaky hands from where they dangled at her side, Buffy slowly ran her palms up her thighs, ruffling the edges of the very short plaid skirt, up over her torso until they rested over the swell of her lace covered breasts that peeked out from behind the partially buttoned white shirt and said, “I figured maybe you'd like it, but didn't think I'd shock you speechless.”

“Speechless is one word for it, love,” Spike ground out, his voice rough with desire as his hands skimmed up the back of her thighs to rest on the frilly lace that covered her ass just beneath the hem of the shirt. “Jacked off enough to the sight of this get up enough to bloody well come undone seeing it on you in the flesh.”

Moisture pooled between Buffy's thighs at the dirty image conjured up in her mind at Spike's comment and damn near caused her plan to tease him with a lap dance to fall slap apart, but somehow she managed to muster up a tiny layer of resolve. Reaching down to grasp his hands, she pulled them around to the front of her and leaned forward ever so slightly to place them palms down on Spike's thighs, effectively giving him an eyeful of her breasts while doing so. “Tsk, tsk, tsk,” she murmured throatily as she tickled the curve of his neck with her breath. “There will be no touching until I give you permission to do so. Unless you want to be tied up? I'm sure I can manage to restrain you for the performance.”

“Performance?” Spike choked out as he grasped at his thighs tightly. “What kind of performance?”

Chuckling at the excitement in his voice, Buffy turned away from Spike and sashayed across the room to stand in front of the entertainment section of the bookshelf to select the track on the Prince CD she had managed to locate and slide into the player before getting dressed. Flipping through the songs on the disc, she selected 'Get Off', a song she was only mildly familiar with, but figured Spike would be paying less attention to the choice of music than the performance. Settling herself back between his thighs as the first chords of the song came through the speakers, Buffy chastised Spike in a low voice as his hands immediately tried to grab her. “What did I tell you?” she asked as she slowly unbuttoned the remaining buttons on the crisp white shirt and slid it from her body. Stepping around Spike's legs, she ducked down behind the chair and used the arms of her shirt to secure his hands down to his side. “Does that need to be tighter or have you learned your lesson?”

Wriggling his arms to test the knots she had tied around the legs of the chair, Spike frowned and glared at her, although the stare lacked intent since pleasure sparkled in the blue depths. “I'll bloody well break the damned chair if you keep me tied up the whole time, pet.”

“You're the one who didn't mind the rules,” Buffy pointed out as she walked around the chair to settle herself between his thighs once more. Seductively, she swished her hips to the sway of the music as she leaned over to lick along the curve of his neck, tracing the tip of her tongue over his jugular, to stop just below his ear so that she could gently bite the lobe before whispering, “See where being naughty gets you?”

Smirking at the strangled gurgle of Spike's reply to her question, Buffy stood back up and turned around so that her ass faced him. While she enjoyed dancing in a group at the club, she had never performed for such a limited audience before and while she was beyond nervous, there was also something very hot about dancing so provocatively for Spike and Spike alone. Slowly, she matched each beat of the song with a wiggle of her hips, dipping down to rub her ass across Spike's lap; wriggling her lace covered cheeks over his thighs and teasing his beyond erect dick to the point that his gurgled moans became blatant curses as he struggled against the knots she had tied around his wrists.

“Fuck,” Spike whispered as she slipped off the skirt and sent it flying over her shoulder with a flick of her wrist to stand before him in nothing but a black lace bra and panties set with white knee high stockings and patent leather heels. “Fuck, pet. You gotta untie my hands, I need to touch you. You're driving me crazy!”

“But, that's the point, isn't it?” Buffy asked innocently as she reached behind her back to undo the clasp of her bra. Holding on to the cups, she teased the swell of her bottom lip with her teeth before letting the straps slip down her arms and finally fall from her altogether to pool on the floor at Spike's feet. Using the tip of one shiny leather shoe, she kicked it out of the way and slowly lowered herself down into his lap; one leg on each side of his hips to straddle him in a very unladylike manner. With trembling fingers, she slowly undid each button on his black shirt while grinding her center against him to the beat of the music.

Pushing his shirt back as far as she could, effectively trapping the ends of his sleeves against the knots of her shirt around his wrists, Buffy placed a kiss to the center of his chest and somehow managed to elegantly untangle her legs from around his waist and slowly turned around to undo the satin ties on either side of her lacy underwear, swishing her hips to the sway of the music while doing so. Since the song was nearly over, she let the scrap of lace fall to the floor as she danced before him, fully nude aside from her stockings and heels. Lost in the thought of how she was going to manage to dance gracefully while also trying to remove said stockings and heels, she missed the bulging veins in Spike's arms as he struggled against his bonds, but the sudden sound of fabric ripping caught her attention in enough time for her to turn around and face Spike as he broke free of the knots around his wrists.

Red faced with exertion, he ripped the remaining fabric from his wrists before picking her up and stumbling towards the center of the bedroom to where he all but tossed her onto the bed. Stepping back ever so slightly, he tore the rest of his shirt from his arms and effectively snatched his belt from his pants to undo the button fly. Buffy barely had time to sit up to remove her stockings and shoes, when Spike snarled at her and growled, “Leave 'em on. For fuck's sake, kitten, leave them 'em on and turn the fuck around.”

Nodding in agreement, currently unable to find her voice, she did as she was told and turned around on the bed so that her ass was hanging off the edge. Feet planted on the floor, her legs quaked in anticipation and she was glad for the position Spike had ordered her to assume, because the bed was currently the only thing supporting her body. Peeking over her shoulder, Buffy watched with rapt attention as Spike shoved his pants down over his hips enough so that he could grab hold of his fully erect cock; stroking it once before settling in behind her. He placed one hand on her hip and used the other to navigate himself inside of her eager body, rubbing the tip of his dick over her aching center before pushing himself into her body with one quick thrust. Meeting Spike thrust for thrust, pleasure ripped itself through Buffy's body and within a handful of minutes she loudly screamed her release as Spike roughly fucked her from behind.

When he followed behind her moments later, falling against her on the bed with a strangled curse before falling to one side where he laid dick out and struggled to catch his breath, Buffy glanced over at him and asked, “So, did you like your present?”

“If you've got to ask that, then I've clearly failed in expressing just how much I enjoyed it,” Spike panted, reaching out to tug playfully at the end of one braided pigtail. After swiping his tongue over his lips, he said, “I very much enjoyed it, love.”

“Hmm…I dunno,” Buffy replied with a wicked glimmer in her eye. Pushing up from the bed, she wriggled around until she was able to straddle his waist; his dick far from flaccid as she teased its length with the moisture that pooled at the apex of her still shaky thighs. “I think we should definitely give it another go. You know, just to make sure you really, really enjoyed it.”

“Kitten, you are going to be the bloody death of me,” Spike replied as Buffy reached between their bodies to wrap her hand around his dick, stroking only twice before he was fully hard once more. As she guided him back into her body, he laughed and said, “But what a damn good way to die.”

Chapter Text

In hopes of not waking Spike, who had somehow managed to sleep through the shrill ringing of the telephone, Buffy quietly tiptoed out of the bedroom while her mother chattered away in her ear, as though a conversation at six in the morning was the most common thing in the world. Sleep clouded Buffy's brain as she made her way down the stairs in search of caffeine, her focus so intent on finding a very large cup of super sugary and creamy coffee that she missed the question her mother had just asked as she searched the kitchen for the coffee filters she knew Spike had used only the day before.

“I'm sorry, Mom, what'd you say?” Buffy asked, doing a little dance as she located all the necessary items to brew a pot of coffee; a task that she typically relied on the other people in her life to do. Listening to her mother repeat herself, Buffy got everything started and replied, “Yes, it is very early here, Mom. One of these days you're going to remember that we're a whole eight hours behind you guys.”

“Or you could just move over here with us, you know,” Joyce offered for the one billionth time since making the move across the proverbial pond. A wistful sigh followed the comment, before her mother added Buffy's usual argument for her, “I know, I know, California is your home and where you belong. I just miss you, sweetie, especially with everything that's going on lately. I worry about you.”

“No need to worry, Mom. I promise I am in very capable hands,” Buffy said in return, her cheeks reddening with the thought of just how capable Spike's hands truly were. “Anyway, not to change the subject, but I am glad you called. There's been a change in my case. Um, it looks like we're going to have to go to trial after all. Riley changed his plea.”

“What do you mean he changed his plea?” Her mother asked with each word getting a bit more loud and angry as she said them. “Just who in the hell does he think he is? He hurt my babies...Hell, he almost killed you, Buffy! He shouldn't be able to just change his mind!”

“Mom...Mom? Hello?” Buffy repeatedly interjected throughout her mother's continued rant, failing miserably until she all but screamed, “Mother!”

“Oh, Buffy, sweetheart,” Joyce apologized as she finally stopped her shrill rant, “It just infuriates me that he hurt you, much less the fact that he hurt you and might actually get away with it. Not to mention the stress you'll go through by dealing with a trial.”

“It will be okay, Mom. I will be okay, I promise,” Buffy promised, although deep down she was scared of what was to come and was not certain that sitting in the same court room day after day with the man she thought she had once loved, a man that had damn near killed her in a fit of rage. But, if doing so meant that Riley might face what he had done to her and Dawn and be punished for hurting them both, then Buffy knew she could be strong and survive. Pausing long enough to taste test the cup of coffee that was finally brewed to make sure there was just enough sugar to nearly cause a diabetic coma, she added, “They're going to need Dawn here to testify though. Is that okay?”

“Of course that's okay, Buffy. It's her chance to get justice, too. We'll just have to figure out her school schedule is all, maybe have her take a semester off just in case.” Joyce paused and Buffy heard the telltale sound of her stepfather's voice in the background before her mother returned to the phone. “Rupert says hello and that he misses you.”

“Tell him the same for me. I hate that you guys are so far away.” Buffy chugged down a massive gulp of coffee and wondered if she could manage to cook something for breakfast without totally screwing it up, but pushed away the thought as she figured it would just be easier to go out and grab something if Spike was not up to doing his usual chef thing when he woke up.

“I like it over here, definitely a different pace than California, but I do miss seeing you and hearing about what's going on in your life,” Joyce replied wistfully. “Now, fill me in on everything else that's going on with you. Anything thing new? Something good?”

“Um, new? Nothing much really. I've been super avoid-O Buffy lately,” Buffy admitted, slightly ashamed at how reclusive she had been since leaving the hospital. Chewing on her thumbnail, she wondered if she should tell her mother about the fledgling relationship with Spike. She had always talked about guys with her mom, not always taking the advice Joyce gave her, but welcoming it nonetheless. However, there was a gnawing pain of nervousness in the pit of her stomach at the thought of telling her mother about Spike, but she pushed it aside and said, “There is one thing that's been good. Um, I'm seeing someone. It's kinda new, but he's pretty great and makes me happy.”

“Buffy,” her mother said in that tone that instantly made Buffy realize that she had made a huge mistake in not listening to what her stomach was trying to tell her; that tone that made her wish for a magical time manipulation device to go back and just not say anything at all. After a long drawn out pause of excruciating silence, Joyce continued, “What do you mean you're seeing someone exactly? Who have you managed to meet if you've allegedly been avoiding everyone?”

“Um, well, do you remember the guy that Angel hired when I was in the hospital, for security? The blonde guy? Spike.” Buffy paused and gulped down the rest of her coffee and wished it was acceptable to chug half a bottle of wine instead. Hearing the very audible sigh of disapproval from her mother, she added, “I mean, it's not super serious or anything, it's new. Like, it just happened recently. Not like we've been doing...um, you know, I mean...we haven't been together this whole time; not like that. But, Spike? He makes me happy, Mom. Happier than I've been a long time.”

“Baby, I want you to be happy. I really do, but Buffy, you only recently ended things with Riley and you're still healing from everything that you went through with him. I just don't think jumping straight into another relationship, serious or not, is the best idea for you at the moment.” Joyce paused and Buffy could mentally picture the look her mother got on her face when she tried to not sound like she was harping at her daughters. “Don't get me wrong, I like Spike. He seems like a nice enough young man, although I am not certain about his choice in names, and I think it's quite romantic the way you two met and found one another again. I do, honestly, but honey, I don't think this is something you need right now.”

“I'm sorry you feel that way, Mom,” Buffy finally said, struggling to keep the tears in her eyes from finding their way into her voice; not wanting to let her mother know just how upset she was. “But, I do think this is what I need. He helps me forget it, what Riley put me through, even for just a little bit. He takes away that pain, Mom.”

“Fine, baby, but please be smart about it. Don't let it get out of hand,” Joyce relented, although disappointment colored her words and caused Buffy's heart to sink even further. She truly hated disappointing her mother. “With the trial coming up, you need to focus on yourself and making sure that Riley gets what he deserves. The media is going to eat you alive if you show any ounce of weakness and heaven help you if they get wind of you jumping into bed with a new guy so soon after Riley. Don't let Spike be your weakness, your undoing, Buffy. You're fighting not only for yourself in this, but for your baby sister, too. You've got to be strong for Dawn, too.”

“Yes ma’am.” Buffy replied, quietly, knowing full well that her mother was at least partially correct. While Spike could never be anything but her strength, Buffy knew that the media would skew anything out of proportion and she could not afford to have anything jeopardize the trial. Sighing, exhaustion from dealing with her mother creeping in to make her tired despite the caffeine singing through her veins, Buffy muttered a lame excuse to end the conversation and ended it with a terse goodbye that hurt her heart.

Leaving her dirty coffee cup on the kitchen counter, Buffy headed back upstairs to slip back into bed with Spike before he could see the tears that streamed down her face. Unfortunately, her plan failed when she stepped out of the bathroom at the same time she entered the bedroom and the sunlight streaming through the windows showed him every tear that streaked over her reddened cheeks. Falling into his arms, she put up no resistance as he navigated them towards the bed, to where he sat down and pulled her into his lap to hold her quietly until the wetness on her cheeks dried. Sniffling, Buffy scrubbed the palms of her hands over her face and said, “Thanks, I needed that.”

“Anytime, love.” Spike smiled softly as he brushed a wayward strand of hair from her face and tucked it behind her ear. Concern washed over his handsome features as he studied the sadness that no doubt continued to fill her eyes and asked, “You want to tell me what happened to make you so sad?”

“That was my mom on the phone. I, uh...I told her about us and needless to say, she was definitely not thrilled with the idea,” Buffy replied grimly. Before continuing with the story, she wriggled her way off Spike's lap and crawled up the bed, laid down and pulled the comforter up to her chin. Since the day had started out as a suckfest, she was just going to go back to sleep and maybe start it over at a later hour. However, one glance at the expression on Spike's face erased that thought, at least for the moment. “I'm sorry, I...l didn't mean to say it that harsh. It's not you in particular that she's so against, I promise, she likes you and all. It's just that everything else is going so wonky right now and she doesn't think that me jumping into another relationship is the best idea.”

“It's fine. She's your mum, love. She worries, that's her job,” Spike replied as he scooted across the bed to join her under the covers, pulling her into his arms so that she could rest her cheek on his chest. Buffy smiled at the feel of his lips brushing against her forehead, but still hated that she had hurt his feelings even for the briefest moments.

“Forget about my mom for right now. I figure once all the Riley drama calms down and the trial is over, she'll come around.” Buffy glanced up to look at Spike and asked, “Know what I think we should talk about instead? You. I want to know everything there is to know about you.”

“Surely we can find something else more entertaining than that boring story, pet,” Spike replied suggestively, doing his best to distract Buffy by sliding his hand up her bare thigh. “In fact, I am certain I can think of something else for us to do instead.”

“And I am sure we will get to that at some point, but right now I want to know all the juicy details about you. When did you come to the states? How long have you known Angel? How many times have you been in love? I want to know everything! Pretty please?” Buffy pleaded, playfully pouting to get her way; knowing full well that he had yet to be able to resist the sight of her lower lip poking out.

“Very well, pet. You win, but there's nothing juicy about it. Downright boring if I say so myself,” Spike said, caving the minute she poked out her lip and batted her eyes at him. “Just so you know, I was a bleeding ponce in my younger days, so you can't hold that against me after, yeah?” Pausing long enough to let Buffy settle back down in his arms, Spike dredged up at least part of his unspectacular life just to appease her. “My first love was Cecily. Thought she was the most beautiful bird I'd ever laid my eyes on, that one. Followed her around relentlessly, spouting off sodding poetry and doting on her every second. Turned out to be quite the raging bitch, that one. Made a bleeding wanker out of myself over Cecily. Changed every poncy thing about myself after that one; hair, clothes, accent. The whole lot of it, gone. After that was done, moved my arse to the states and met Drusilla.”

Buffy felt bad, since she had begged for him to tell her the story, but a snort of laughter escaped at the name of the second love in his life. Glancing up to find Spike glowering at her, Buffy explained the giggle and apologized, “I'm sorry, that was so rude, but come on...Drusilla? Seriously, who names their kid that? Did her parents hate her or something?”

“Right, pet. Like Buffy is such a normal everyday type of name for a child?” Spike retorted with a chuckle, but managing to effectively put her in her place with his comment. Albeit childish, Buffy stuck her tongue out at him and Spike said, “Cute, pet. Just like your name, yeah?”

“Darn straight, I'm all sorts of cute, I'll have you know,” Buffy replied with a smile, before steering the conversation back to Spike's story. “So, what happened between you and Drusilla?”

“Probably best to ask what didn't happen between me and Dru, love. Quite the rollercoaster; up and happy one moment, then her mood would take a bleeding nosedive down and there'd be a bit of misery for a while. Dru, well, she wasn't all there all the time, I guess. Got worse as the years went on; mostly lucid, then one thing would go barmy and she'd be dancing around the living room, talking to her bloody doll. Not much I could do to help her, just had to wait it out, really,” Spike said, sadness tinging his voice.

“Years?” Buffy asked when he paused his story. “How many years exactly?”

“Let's see, we broke up last fall, so that would have been ten...no, eleven years. We met shortly after I met Angel, so yeah, Dru and I would have started dating right around my twentieth birthday.” Spike paused long enough for Buffy to ask him what went wrong with them in the end, and appeared to be ponder his words before continuing, “There were less and less of the good days, I guess. By the end, Dru was barely keeping it together, to be honest. That last day, when she left me, was right after I met you actually. That night at Caritas? She was going on and on about the sunshine infecting me or some nonsense; said it was too bright, that it hurt to look at me. Whatever the hell that meant? Anyway, packed up her bags and left. Haven't seen her since.”

“Have you heard anything about her? Like, is she okay?” Buffy asked, truly worried. Guilt gnawed at her conscience as she wondered if Spike had told Drusilla what had happened between them at Caritas the night they met and if that was the reason she left, but Buffy was too chicken to ask Spike if that's what had happened.

“Last I heard she was in an institution back in London. Spoke to a friend of hers a while back and found out her condition had deteriorated quite terribly and her family had to have her committed.” Pausing, Spike obviously felt the need to drop the subject, because he said, “That's enough of story time for today, love. How's about some breakfast? I'm feeling a bit peckish.”

Knowing that talking about his past had been difficult, Buffy accepted the offer of food and gladly let him end story time for the day, but hoped that he would open up to her again. While her heart hurt at the sadness in his life and loves, she wanted to know everything there was to know about him, because regardless of the warnings from her mother, she already knew that she was falling head over heels in love with Spike Worthington.