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PRINCIPAL WOOD: Nice coat. Where'd you get it?
SPIKE: New York.

                         Get It Done

 


    New York.

    An endless stream of moving cars, barreling trucks, bustling crowds, flapping pigeons. Roaring subways, blaring sirens, auto horns and shouting and music. Exhaust and trash and sweating bodies, coffee and pizza and spicy street vendors. Dirt and grime and grit and litter, broken bottles, broken sidewalks, broken people.

    Spike hadn’t been here in years, but he remembered. Couldn’t bloody forget no matter how he tried.

    Buffy was tired, but the city intrigued her. “They’re so much taller than LA.”

    “What?”

    “The buildings.”

    They were in a taxi, heading from Grand Central Station. Buffy had told the taxi driver the name of a hotel one of the girls had recommended, but Spike was still unsure. “Do we really want a hotel, love?” He looked out at the glittering lights of nighttime New York. “I mean, they’re expensive, and we don’t know whether that Consecrated demon is still on the move. We need the codex to track it, and what if this Crowley guy wants money for it?”

    “He’s a watcher. Or he was. He’s not going to charge a slayer for information she needs to hunt a demon.”

    “The Consecrated. An incredibly rare demon, that haunts churches, eats only the pious, and can only be tracked by a vampire,” Spike said. “Sounds like a valuable set of information to me.”

    “He isn’t demanding money. He wouldn’t have called us in if he was.”

    “He didn’t call us in. He called you in.” Spike looked back out the window. “Maybe we should have called Angel.”

    Buffy raised her eyebrows, surprised. Angel didn’t really work with them much and... it was Angel. “You’re kidding, right?”

    “No.”

    “Spike, what’s wrong?”

    Spike stared at the city. “It’s Crowley.”

    “And?”

    Spike finally looked back at her. “Bernard Crowley might have problems trusting me with anything.”

    “And I say again,” Buffy said, “he was a watcher. He knows better. We can afford a good hotel, Spike.”

    “I suppose we can,” Spike said. “But it might be easier to accept Tori’s invitation.” Tori was a member of Buffy’s slayer army, who had grown up in New York, and offered to let Spike and Buffy sleep in her mother’s basement spare room.

    “And maybe tomorrow we will,” Buffy said. “In the meantime, I want a hotel for tonight.”

    Spike shook his head. “Hotels bother me. They always have checkout at high-bloody-noon. We have to pay for two nights just to get a decent day’s sleep. Tori’s mum gets that I’m a vamp– day sleeper,” he stopped himself, glancing at the taxi driver, who wasn’t paying the least attention. “It might be better to stay in the loop, keep in contact with the army, as it were.”

    “Why don’t you want to be alone with me?” Buffy asked.

    “That’s not it. I just like slayer-folk, they can be fun,” Spike said. What he really wanted was not to be alone at all. A bustling house full of slayer-folk would ensure a full evening of cards and chatting both before and after visiting Crowley. But Buffy looked at him pointedly. “What?”

    “You’ve lost count on the trip, haven’t you.”

    “What do you mean?” Spike asked.

    Buffy smiled at him under coquettishly hooded lids. “Day fourteen.”

    Spike looked at her blankly, and then realization flickered into his face. Much better offer than cards, that was. “Right. Hotel. Definitely hotel. With bloody good walls.”

    
***

    One of the stranger things about being a serious partner to a vampire had been the integration of what Spike called blood games into their bedroom routine. A small amount of feeding, just a little touch of a bite. It was dangerous, but heady, and it was hard to stop once they’d started.

    The first time they’d done it hadn’t been very controlled. He’d been careful not to take too much, but logistics hadn’t been arranged. It hadn’t been that kind of night. A deep need had arisen instinctually in Buffy on the eve of battle, some slayer’s instinct to strengthen her best warrior, much as it had many years before, when Angel had been ill. Buffy and Spike. Slayer and vampire on the same side, and in the same bed. It had been a bond of trust between them on both sides, a sharing of strength, and it had proved deeply beneficial at the time. But that had been special circumstances. The problem was, it was hot.

    It wasn’t until they’d established a longer term regular relationship that included such things that it quickly became clear they needed to set up some serious guidelines.

    The rules were important for several reasons. The biggest reason being, Buffy loved it. It wouldn’t have been an issue if it was something that did nothing for her. Spike loved her too much to demand anything she didn’t like. He would have been perfectly content to live completely without it, or to restrict himself to kissing away any scrapes or cuts she got in the normal course of her slaying duties. If she was simply okay with it, but it didn’t do much for her, they could have done it once or twice a year on very special occasions, and never have to think about it otherwise. But she loved it. She wanted it. She all but mourned if she couldn’t get it. She got off on his hunger, his closeness, the love and trust, and yes, even the pain. Not to mention the natural anesthetic venom that demon-kind had thoughtfully integrated into a vampire’s saliva. It calmed her mind, sealed the bonds between them, let her play safely with the danger all slayers had a yen for without really risking herself, and gave her a serious rush.

    This was dangerous, and Spike had warned her exactly how dangerous it could be. He wasn’t worried on his own account. He was no fledgling. He knew how to control himself, knew how much blood to take safely, but the problems weren’t simply in knowing not to take too much. Blood junkies often died young. Buffy had already proven herself prone to addiction when it came to Spike, so her appetite for his appetite was not something they could simply indulge whenever they felt like it. Besides that, there was the risk of anemia, of scar tissue, of her overall health. She was fortunate in that she was a slayer – accelerated healing and hyper-immunity were part of the deal. So long as they didn’t indulge in the venom rush too often the physical affects of addiction should never manifest – an occasional drinker is not an alcoholic. So they did a little research, and set up some basic rules.

    Avoiding alcohol, adding supplemental iron and protein to help with skin regeneration and platelet count, and keeping up her fluids were easy prices to pay for safety in blood play. And funnily enough, treating the bite with peroxide helped prevent scarring, which made Spike’s hair seem that much more apropos.

    They did some more research into how often it was safe to indulge, and came to the conclusion that the eight-week waiting period maintained by the Red Cross was a little too conservative, particularly for a slayer. Spike tended not to take as much as a whole pint, for one. For another, Buffy healed faster than an ordinary human, and they made the assumption that, given her job-description, that would include blood-renewal. So long as she ingested the raw materials in her diet, she should be able to replenish herself more quickly.

    That, taken into account with her menstrual cycle, had resulted in an obvious rhythm, and Spike confessed she tended to taste a little sweeter, a little spicier, and smelled just a bit more appetizing when her hormones were high. This meant day fourteen, right in the center of her cycle. It became a regular date with them, and the few times they’d skipped it, due to conflicts or circumstances, they’d both missed it.

    It was precious. Once a month, twelve times a year, their bonds were renewed, their trust demonstrated, their blood and bodies merged along with their lives and their souls. It was never done hurriedly, or lightly. It was sacred, and they gave themselves privacy and ample time to savor each other.

    It was not something that could be done quietly in someone else’s basement guestroom.


***
    
    They settled into their hotel room, with Do Not Disturb firmly on the door, and the chain on for good measure. “You forgot,” Buffy said. “I can’t believe you forgot. You usually keep better count than I do.”

    “I don’t keep count at all,” Spike said. “I just pay attention.” He came up and touched her throat. “You smell different. You always smell delicious. The fourteenth day, you smell delectable.”

    “You know, that smelling thing is just so weird,” Buffy said.

    “Hey, normal men can smell that about women,” Spike said. “Just ask around.”

    “Really?”

    “Yeah. Suddenly a bird they’re around every day will just rock ‘em hard, so to speak. They don’t always know why, but it’s very there.”

    “Oh,” Buffy said. She reached out for another strawberry. They’d ordered room service before they’d specified Do Not Disturb, and Buffy was working on her fruit-plate dessert. “So why didn’t you notice?”

    Spike shrugged. “New York is distracting.”

    “Didn’t you live here for a while?”

    “Yeah, in the seventies. Punk scene.”

    “It would be.”

    “Anyway, it’s loud and busy, and there are lots of smells. I hadn’t had a moment to really appreciate you.” Spike came up and sat by her feet, pulling them into his lap. He pulled off her socks and started to massage her feet, partly therapeutically, partly sensually. He worked the ache from the day’s travel out of her muscles, while occasionally sliding up her leg or caressing her ankle. A few times Buffy shuddered when something tickled, or felt particularly nice, and she hummed contentedly when he found a sore spot, and eased it. After a bit he lifted one foot and gently bit at her ankle.

    Buffy cringed delightedly and pulled her feet back, creeping up on him along the sofa like a hunting lioness. “Do you appreciate me now?” Buffy asked, straddling his lap.

    “Always,” Spike said. “Every moment I can steal.”

    Buffy slid her hands down his torso and pulled his shirt up over his head. He helped her shrug it off his arms, and then put them around her as she sank onto his chest. Spike kissed the top of her head and sighed, more than content to just hold her for a moment. After a long while, Buffy looked up. “You okay?” she asked.

    “Why wouldn’t I be?”

    “Well, you’re clearly distracted,” Buffy said. “And you’re starting this awfully slow.”

    “I usually take it slow,” Spike said.

    Buffy raised an eyebrow.

    “When something’s bothering me,” Spike said, with rueful realization. Under ordinary circumstances, he probably would have been scratching her already. “So sue me, pet, I find you comforting.”

    “What you need comforting for?”

    He shrugged. “Doesn’t matter.”

    “Talk to me, honey. What’s worrying you? Seeing Crowley tomorrow?”

    “Wouldn’t it worry you?” Spike asked.

    Buffy held his head with one hand, caressing his jaw with her thumb. She stared into his eyes. “We’ll get through it,” Buffy said. “He called us in for a reason. He knew there were only two vampires who could come, and he knew you’re the one I work closest with. And the demon who killed Nikki Wood doesn’t even really exist anymore. He knows that, too. Robin has... if not forgiven you, accepted what happened. I’m sure Crowley always knew her death was inevitable.”

    “Doesn’t mean he’s not still holding a grudge.”

    “He’s a watcher,” Buffy said. “Watchers know their slayers don’t live forever.”

    “But they usually don’t have to be reminded of the death every single day by the face of her son. And usually, they don’t have to face her killer, and have pleasant chat over tea,” Spike said.

    “I don’t think anyone’s going to expect this meeting to be pleasant, or over tea,” Buffy said. “We’ll just get the information, collect the codex, and go. He knows what’s happened to you, what you’ve done. Or he should.”

    “Yeah. That doesn’t mean he’s not still mourning Nikki.”

    “You know... I know Nikki wasn’t your every day victim. But you usually try not to dwell on this stuff too much.”

    “When I did, I went mad,” Spike said. “No, Nikki’s not the heaviest weight on my soul. I’ve plenty of other things to feel guilt over from back then. Believe me. But as far as guilt goes, vampire and slayer is the way the game’s played. She knew what she was in for. It was a fair fight, and I nearly lost. Day to day, that’s more than enough for me.”

    “A fair fight?” Buffy said with a grin.

    “Yeah. And it didn’t have to be, you know. I could have killed Robin, and Crowley for that matter, long before I finally got to Nikki, but... wasn’t part of the game to hunt her kid behind her back.”

    “Wasn’t it.”

    “Well, I wouldn’t have felt it fair if she’d gone and dusted Drusilla before she went after me. That was the kind of trick Angel played. Screw ‘em over. Kill everyone they love, preferably slowly. Kill the soul before you kill the body. She was a slayer, I wanted a fair fight.”

    “Oh, really? And calling in the Order of Taraka on a slayer counts as a fair fight?”

    “I wasn’t talking about you,” Spike said, defensive. “You were ticking me off. And you sort of scared me, I was far too interested in you. And you had Angel on your side, and sidekicks and all. And Dru was sick, I was busy.”

    “Any other excuses?”

    Spike sighed. “Okay. I guess I should say good fight more than fair.

    “Much better. Why good?”

    “Well, come on. A weepy miserable slayer half a step from suicide because of the death of her son would not have been any fun for me. Robin would have been so easy to kill. I had at least one chance right in front of her, even. I kind of wanted Nikki in top form. Besides. I hadn’t the patience to watch her crumble, first. By the time we got really into it I wanted a tussle so bad, I’d have....” He trailed off.

    “Killed for one?”

    “I did that,” he said ruefully. “I don’t know. I think I half wanted her to kill me. I always wonder if there wasn’t some part of the man in me who was hoping a slayer would take me out. For someone who couldn’t feel guilt, I had a lot of twisted emotion inside me.”

    “You always had a strong heart,” Buffy murmured.

    “And I know you always appreciated it,” Spike said with brutal sarcasm. “But this is different. Good fight it may have been, but... I feel the consequences of the killing I used to do, the grief and pain I left behind me. I don’t usually have to look it in the face.”

    “You looked into Robin’s,” Buffy said. “And you survived.”

    “Robin tried to kill me,” Spike said. “Robin got my blood up. Robin did his bloody best to attack from an unfair advantage, on at least three levels, and make me feel justified in anything I’d ever done, evil or no. Robin wasn’t a problem. What if Crowley just... what if it’s pain, instead of rage? I know how to cope with rage. I don’t know how to... be sorry.”

    “You’re always sorry.”

    “There’s no way to say it. Not as if I’d inflict any of my guilt drenched bloody poetry on the poor guy. No one deserves that.”

    Buffy chuckled. Even she hadn’t read most of that stuff – he claimed he wrote it only for himself, and she believed it.

    “No. There’s more to it. Crowley’s a watcher. I’ve never liked watchers. They hide out of sight, well out of danger, mucking things up to their own advantage, and get paid to do it.”

    “They don’t stay out of danger,” Buffy said, with a distant grief. “My first watcher, before Giles. He died to save me.”

    “I’m sorry.” Spike caressed her face in sympathy. “Still,” he said. “I don’t know what kind of grudge this Crowley might be carrying. All I know is that, compared to Giles, he was a hard ass. Trained Nikki like every day was her last.”

    Until the day it was. Neither of them said it, but they both heard it anyway.

    “You’ve changed,” Buffy said.

    “Nikki hasn’t,” Spike said. “She’s still right where she always was, in my head. Fighting so beautifully, a magnificent dance of death. She was glorious.” He realized what he was saying, and shook his head, half in apology to Buffy.

    “You and slayers,” Buffy said.

    She meant it as a joke, but he took it seriously. “Yeah. Me and slayers. Nikki was... you know, the thing is, in my own deadly way, I loved her.”

    “You wanted to kill her.”

    “I wanted to kill everything I loved,” he said sadly. “I still want to kill you, in some distant way.” Buffy looked down. Spike knew she’d known this, but he didn’t usually bring it up. He wasn’t feeling forgiving of himself just then. “There’s a lot of other things I want to do with you more,” he said, and her expression lifted a bit. “But Nikki and I... we danced for days. I came to New York knowing there was a slayer here. I wasn’t packing out until I killed her, or she killed me. New York’s a big place – it took years to even find her. I think she knew I was hunting her.”

    “Well, I knew, when you were hunting me.”

    “I advertised, to you, love,” Spike said. “Anyway, she was hard to find. She was undercover, of course. It took ages. Drusilla hated it here. She said it was too hard, too loud, too busy. She wanted me to kill the slayer for her, but I took too long at it. She made me pay... god she was hard to live with. Blowing hot and cold, pushing me away, doing everything she could to make me pissed off, or jealous.” He shook his head. “New York was not her scene. She wanted the stars and green growing things more than easy feeding.”

    “Was it easy feeding?”

    “New York in the seventies? Dumb punks, corrupt cops, flophouse neighborhoods, huge drug scene. Sometimes it was hard to find someone who didn’t seem to have a death wish. I set up my hunting grounds, and they were just teeming with goodies.” He closed his eyes. “Victims,” he amended.

    “Still hard sorting it out?” she asked.

    “You mean how I felt then, and how I feel now?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Well, that’s the scary thing, in’t it? You said Nikki was killed by someone who doesn’t exist anymore.”

    “He doesn’t.”

    “No,” Spike said. “I’m not Angel. Maybe he can pretend it’s Angel versus Angelus, one has a soul, one doesn’t, and never the twain shall meet. I’m me. I always was me. And, you know, Buffy, you don’t even believe that yourself. If you did, you wouldn’t have held me to the standards you did back when I didn’t have a soul. When I said you treated me like a man, I meant it. You expected me to act like one, and think like one. You expected me to be a human being, and were disgusted with me when I wasn’t. Even though you knew what I was.”

    “Yeah, well.” Buffy looked a little ashamed. “I let Angel kind of... skew my mind when I was in highschool.”

    Spike smiled. “Love will do that, pet.” He shook his head. “That beast was me. That beast is still me. Everything about me was there, save the soul. I don’t feel any different, ‘cept when I think about what I’ve done. I try not to dwell in it, but I can’t just throw the guilt away, either, saying I wasn’t there. I was. I still am. I’m still a vampire. I still love violence, I still crave blood. And I was Spike then, too. I still like the Ramones. Haven’t changed my hair much since. Still a bleeding fool of a romantic. And when I look around, I still know these streets. I keep wanting to check out CB’s and order in a pizza. The only difference is, back then, I usually ate the delivery guy first.”

    “That’s a pretty big difference,” Buffy pointed out.

    “Yeah, but I still want to eat the delivery guy,” Spike said. “I just couldn’t bear to.”

    “Again,” Buffy said. “That’s a pretty big difference.”

    “Well, what’s better? Controlling the evil impulse, or not having it in the first place?”

    “You’re not evil, Spike. Not anymore.”

    He was silent for a long moment. “I’m stained by it, though. I’ll never really be free of it.”

    “But you’re not trapped by it anymore, either,” Buffy said.

    “Yeah. A soul can do that. The evil’s the one chained up now. I can choose to do evil, or not, just like I always could. But now I’ve a conscience, so I choose not.” He shook his head. “It doesn’t mean the blood lust just... went away.”

    “No, it didn’t,” Buffy said. “But it’s put to a much... better... use....” She used her nails to scratch gentle white trails down his shoulders and arms, while nuzzling his ear with her lips, not coincidentally placing her throat within reach of his teeth.

    He moaned softly, then took her up on the opportunity, grabbing her lightly with his teeth, kissing her soft skin. “You know... when I first got this soul,” he said, still kissing her, over and over again, “everything felt so different. So much more intense.”

    Buffy gasped as he touched a particularly sensitive spot. “And now?” she breathed.

    “Now....” he opened his mouth wide and kissed her hard, probably leaving a mark. “It feels like there’s hardly any difference at all,” he said when he released her.

    “I see a difference,” Buffy said when she stopped gasping.

    “Well, that’s where it lies, isn’t it, pet,” Spike said, gazing into her being. “A lover’s the one who would see it. It’s not that I couldn’t love without a soul. I could. I did. I loved you so hard. I loved you with all the hunger of a demon. I devoured you with every glance, every touch, starving for your life, if not your death. I loved you with an ache, trying to fill that hollow space inside me. You didn’t touch my soul, ‘cause I didn’t have one. But you touched the space where there should have been.”

    Buffy’s face arched in sympathy, as if she were looking at a wounded puppy, and she kissed him a dozen times, all over his face. “I know,” she said. “That was what it felt like, trying to love you. Like I’d get somewhere, close to you, and something wouldn’t be there.” She shook her head. “And I had my own problems, anyway.”

    “I’d noticed.”

    Buffy shrugged. “It was all just kind of... badness, and my life felt wrong. You were the only thing that felt right, because it felt so wrong.”

    “I tried,” Spike said.

    “You got real close,” Buffy said. “Even the wrong of it helped me through the worst of it. I might have killed myself – or at least let myself die if I hadn’t had you to pour all the pain into.”

    “Empty spaces can take a lot of pain,” Spike said.

    “I’m sorry about that.”

    He shrugged. “It was all one. Yours, mine. You just made me realize how empty I was. Made it hurt.” He pressed his forehead to hers. “There was always something empty, kept me from being close to anyone. Even... even when I wanted to.”

    “We both needed healing.”

    “Evil and grief,” Spike whispered.

    “Hey. We got through it. And in the end... where are we now?”

    Spike reached around her and pulled her shirt over her head. “Somewhere about here,” he said, nuzzling her breasts. Buffy arched her back. Spike lifted her from where they sat, and carried her to the bed. He lay her down and pulled her pants off, then quickly slid his own jeans down, kicking them away. Slowly, he kissed his way up her leg, along her knee, up her inner thigh, a single, sensual lick up her labia, followed by more kisses as he climbed up her stomach. He paused a moment to address each breast in turn, kissing and sucking upon first one, then the other, and back again, until she groaned with it. Finally, as her back arched with pleasure, he crept up to her neck and face, his lips hot with kisses. By the time he got there, Buffy was quivering. He hovered over her like a panther with his kill, and gazed down at her. She was wildly excited, and she smelled amazing.

    Spike had to close his eyes for a moment and calm himself. The anticipation was electric. They made love regularly, of course, often daily. But these nights were different. These nights, these moments when she made love to the demon as well as the man, these were sacred. It could turn sordid if he did it wrong. He knew it could. He didn’t want that to happen.

    Spike nuzzled her softly, licking at her flesh as little shivers of delight ran all through her. “Do you want it to hurt tonight, love?” he asked in her ear, his tone caressing the words.

    Buffy hummed contentedly as the options chimed in her. “Maybe at first,” she promised. “But I want to fall into you.”

    Spike grinned down at her. “How far do you want to go?”

    Buffy writhed her torso against him, letting her warm breasts caress his cool flesh. “Down the rabbit hole,” she said.

    “You are such a blood junkie,” he said fondly.

    “Only for you,” she sighed.

    “Good thing,” Spike said. “You fall so deep, anyone soulless would kill you in a minute. Wouldn’t be able to resist.” He thrust his body over her, letting her feel the strength of it. “What do you say you let me down the rabbit hole,” he whispered, “and then I pull you down with me?”

    Buffy only hummed in response, but her legs opened, and she wrapped them around his thighs. He let his cock tickle at her clit for a few minutes before he found her hot core, and slid easily inside. “Welcome home,” she said, and he growled his contentment.

    “I love you,” he told her.

    “Love you, too,” Buffy said. He moved over and above her, occasionally pushing her down with his vampire strength, letting her push back, wrestling their demonic power in an act as important to both of them as their love-making. He knew she could break him. He could keep up with her, but only barely, and only because of his age and skill level. She was made to kill thousands of vampires. He was only made to kill ordinary humans, and had worked hard for over a century to make himself the demon fighter he’d become.

    They thrust and writhed and moved with each other as the passion built between them. He squeezed her hard enough to break the ribs of a normal human being. She held him back, hard enough to bruise his vampire flesh. The pain and show of strength only fired both of them, and they pushed harder together, thrusting and bucking and tensing against each other in pleasure. The hotel bed groaned.

    He waited until she came before he bit her, piercing her barely scarred flesh again, so her cries of pleasure were mixed with gasps of pain. It had taken him some time to accept that he still liked to hurt her, and he was glad that she occasionally liked to hurt. The pain drew out her orgasm, and she lost control of her limbs, both flailing and clenching, writhing beneath him as the blood flowed into his mouth. The blood sang in him, made him glow with heat, and he came inside her as the blood came inside him. It made him bite down harder, and Buffy made a noise between a grunt and a scream. She began to whimper as he held her down.

    He let himself take the blood... the blood... her blood... Buffy. Buffy’s life, Buffy’s essence, the sweetest thing in the world, the life he lived for, the blood his very soul hungered for. It had no interest in anyone else, not any longer, but Buffy... Buffy had penetrated him to his core. There was no part of him, heart, soul, mind, body, skin, tongue, teeth, no part of him that did not hunger for her, relish her, cherish her, need to nurture her, as much as he longed to devour her.

    He let the pain linger for a few moments, until her sounds had made the transition from enjoyable to endurable. After all the times they’d made love, he knew the difference by now. She’d stop him if he went too far, but he didn’t want to cause actual harm to her, neither physically nor emotionally. His job was to stop before she had to ask. Without a jolt in transition, he changed his bite to a kiss, and licked at the wound, softening the pain away as his saliva entered her bloodstream, effectively anesthetizing her.

    She sighed as the pain faded. Then she wrapped her arms around him, waiting for the rest of it. As always, it took a minute, as the anesthetic had to go through her heart and into her brain before she could get the full effect. He knew when it started to work in her. She moaned with pleasure, going soft beneath him. “Oh, god, yeah,” she breathed.

    Spike laughed into her throat and kissed her more deeply, giving as much as he took. He made her awareness of the outside world fade even further, until the only thing that existed was him. The weight of him, the scent of him, the pleasure of his mouth against her throat, his deadly kiss, which he kept gentle just for her. She moaned as she sank into the mattress, her eyes closing in soft ecstasy. He knew there was nothing she wanted more than just to be close to him. Close to him... forever. Which was what the anesthetic was supposed to do, of course. Make her feel it was okay to die in his arms.

    Spike had told her she could fight the impulse off, but she’d never tried. She said she didn’t want to. She trusted him. She loved him. She didn’t want to push him off. She wanted to be inside him, to be part of him, as he had just been inside of her. Hers was the only human blood he ever tasted any longer. It made him belong to her, in the way he constantly told her he did. His soul was hers. His heart. His flesh. She shared her blood, and he shared his captivating kiss, always, always, making himself let her go. He still had the impulse to kill her, and knew he always would, but it was so small, drowned out by so much love and devotion he could almost pretend it wasn’t there at all.

    She was sinking when he finally stopped swallowing, and he held the wound with his thumb as he usually did. The anesthetic had two other effects apart from the local numbing of the wound, and the general euphoria and need for closeness that affected her mind. The first was heart rate, which tended to increase – it helped the feeding go faster – and the other was an anti-coagulant, which kept the wound from clotting and closing, prematurely ending said feeding. Buffy was a slayer, and seemed to be immune to the anti-coagulant, but her heart was racing, and he always made sure to hold the wound tight for several minutes after.

    “Oh, god, hold me,” Buffy whimpered when he stopped drinking. “Don’t let go.”

    “Do I ever?” Spike whispered. He pulled her close and kissed her forehead, keeping his body in contact with her as much as possible. “I’m all yours, Buffy. I’m here for you. Only for you.”

    “I love you,” she whispered. “Love you, love you.” She squeezed him tightly and almost moaned. “God, this sucks.”

    “Beautifully,” Spike agreed.

    Buffy chuckled. “I mean when it ends,” she said. “I know we have to be careful – and I know why – but sometimes I just wish we could... I don’t know. Break loose. Like we can with the violence.”

    “A suck is more dangerous than a blow, love.”

    “I know,” Buffy said. “I just... I keep wishing this could go on forever.”

    “Under ordinary circumstances, it would,” Spike said. “You’d never have to feel me stop.”

    Buffy sighed against his chest. “Is this better? With me alive at the end?”

    “Actually... yeah. I mean, the rush of the death is... I miss it, sometimes. It’s the sacrifice the demon demands, and that was something seriously addictive. But I couldn’t stomach the consequences of that anymore, and never, ever with you.” He nuzzled her. Buffy was wonderful – she could ease anything, any guilt, any painful memory, and she wouldn’t let him get away with being a wanker. “I need you alive. If you didn’t really love me, I’d hate the lies the venom would pull from you, but as it is....” He checked to make sure the bleeding had stopped, and then hugged her properly. “You’re so willing. Willing was always better.”

    “I thought you... the demon liked to... it rough,” she said instead.

    He knew what word she’d just avoided. “Rough and willing are not exclusive, love, as you well know,” Spike said. “But I had my own reasons for the ways I sometimes hunted. Rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power. God, you know that, more than anyone. There were certain kinds of power I felt I needed, and at the time I felt I had a right to it. Rape sometimes made a victim willing for other things. On the whole, if I could have asked... I would have preferred everyone I killed to want it.” He caressed her hair. “In my own way, I was always looking for that. Those who wanted me to kill them. Probably one of the reasons I became so fixated on slayers.”

    “I don’t have a death wish,” Buffy said.

    “Not right now,” Spike said. “But you’re willing.” He kissed her fondly. “And i’nt that neat?” he said with an amused grin.