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One Of Those Dreams

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   The aftermath of the whole thing was more than Buffy was used to having to deal with.

   Usually she’d show up, slay the demon, send the victim to run off home, stride into the night the victor, and never have to deal with any of the consequences.

   Not so this time. Cassie dead of natural causes, the boys who were to commit the murder human, the place a public setting. Yes, there had been a demon for a minute, but all the demon did was go rarr and attack the chief murderer, so it wasn’t really the demon’s fault. Also, nothing more than a few bits of meat as evidence, which could just have been some weird dining ritual. Which meant the police got involved, and the principal had to be called, and Cassie’s parents were informed, and the whole thing was basically a nightmare. A nightmare that went on all damn night.

   Buffy had gotten a chance to go home and shower and change, but Principal Wood insisted she come back the next day, because with Cassie dead and her would-be murderers arrested or at least questioned, the school was going to be in an uproar, and he needed all the staff on site, even if she hadn’t had any sleep. The boy who had informed to Buffy was a key witness, and the rest were being questioned to determine whether they were actually accomplices to the murder attempt or not. The demon in question had to be explained away in a manner the police of Sunnydale were willing to write down in their paperwork. (They had ultimately described it as “some kind of animal” the leader of the cult had brought, which got loose and bit him.) And of course, there was Spike’s involvement.

   “So, who was this friend of yours who hit the boy?”

   “No friend,” Buffy said over and over again. Only she, the leader, and Cassie had seen Spike, the other boys having fled at the arrival of the demon, so it was her word against an attempted murderer. “It was just me.”

   “No, he’s very insistent. He says a friend of yours came with you, and hit him while you were handling the, uh... animal.”

   “There was no one. It was just me and Cassie.”

   “He’s very clear, you weren’t alone. He says your friend was bleach blond, very strong, um...” the cop consulted his notes, “said he described himself as a bad man.”

   “Kid just doesn’t want to admit he was hit by a girl,” Buffy said.

   The police looked unsatisfied, but they’d had to deal with Buffy before, and they knew it never went anywhere.

   The questions the other kids at school had that day never went anywhere, either. “It was some kids from the school. Yes, they really had formed some little club. Yes, they thought they were going to kill Cassie. No. No, they didn’t kill Cassie. She had a flaw in her heart....”

   Buffy felt like she did, too.

   Spike had come up from out of nowhere, like some kind of savior, just to try and help the girl. Buffy knew that was his true nature. Take care of the girl. And she’d been leaving him down in that basement ranting and alone for weeks now.

   What did that make her? Spike wanted to help the girl. Buffy just abandoned the boy....

   But Spike had vanished before she’d even gotten Cassie out of the library, and she didn’t know how to tell him that helping Cassie... hadn’t helped. The girl still died.

   No hurting the girl.

   Every time she thought about that her insides shriveled up. She was angry at Spike for what he’d done, blistering with fury over that moment when he lost control of himself, but clearly... clearly he was even angrier at himself for it. Clearly he had been angry at himself even before he got the soul. Clearly it wasn’t what he’d meant to do. She had known that even the night it happened. He hadn’t meant to. She knew that was why he’d gone to get it. The soul. I hurt you, Buffy. Ugh, she didn’t want to think about this.

   Or about how he felt when he was above you, how his body felt, cording beneath yours, the scent of his soft, cool skin, the sounds he’d make as you rode him, the feel of him inside you, surrounding you, penetrating, wrong, wrong to want him, but those eyes, cold as ice but with such love, such love that you never admitted you even believed in until it was too late, too late to stop yourself, too late to fix it....

   Buffy shook her head and went back to the paperwork on her desk. She hadn’t had time to do any of it during the day as friends of Cassie’s and friends of the cult members came filing through her counselor’s office. That had been exhausting enough, but it meant she had to handle the files after office hours.

   Questionnaires, messages to parents, detailed reports on each of the boys in the cult, and files and files and files on Cassie’s death.... It wouldn’t have been so bad if she had managed to get any sleep. But with the police taking over the night, and the students taking over the day, and her staying up most of the night before trying to figure out how to save Cassie (fruitless. So fruitless, even with Spike coming gallantly to save the girl) it had been over forty-eight hours now since Buffy had had any sleep. She had that sickly hollow feeling that she got when sleep was not forthcoming, but she was a slayer, she could work without sleep, right? That’s all she had to do, just keep... working....

   She leaned back from the paperwork and rubbed her eyes, exhausted.

   And when she opened her eyes, Spike was there.

   He was kneeling by her feet, gazing up at her with blue eyes in the dim light. Night had fallen, and the only lights were the one at Buffy’s desk and the dim glow of her computer screen, yellow and blue fighting for supremacy over the darkness. Spike looked like that, his hair and his eyes, candlelight and moonlight, warm and cold, soft and hard, tender and violent, all at once, fighting out of the darkness.

   He was so beautiful.

   “I’m sorry,” Buffy whispered to him. She was apologizing for Cassie, and for the soul, for the madness. She was apologizing for everything.

    “I hurt the girl,” he said back, his voice like blue velvet.  

   “No.” Buffy didn’t know how to explain what she was feeling. Her hand reached out and touched him, touched his cheek, his jaw, barely caressing his smooth skin with her fingertips. “You didn’t.”

   “I hurt you.”

   “I made you hurt me.” She felt like she had. Not then, not in that bathroom, that was only the end result of a long, dangerous tightrope they’d both been walking, and he’d fallen from it that night. But she’d fallen too, many times before, and he’d just let her fall, accepted the pain of it, and then hoisted her back up again. When she’d beaten him and forced him and hurt him, used her words or her fists to rip him apart, she’d known she had fallen then. And he was okay with it. The way she’d been treating him, manhandling him, playing hot and cold, using him the way she had. She knew what it had done to him, and she blamed herself.

   “I don’t hurt you,” he said darkly.

   “I hurt anyway,” she whispered. Then the words came out, the ones she didn’t want to admit to. “I want you to hurt me.” She reached forward and took hold of his head, falling to her knees so she was on a level with him. “Hurt me, Spike,” she breathed into his mouth. “I need you to hurt me.”

   They were kissing then, passionately, and his taste was as she remembered, and the strength in his hands, and he wasn’t wearing a shirt, and Buffy somehow wasn’t either, and he lifted her, placing her on the desk, and her legs spread wide, opening for him, wrapping around his hips. He unzipped and then he was inside her, and it felt so damn good, she whimpered and moaned, clawing at his back, thrusting against him as he bucked, the desk just the right height for his hips to move against her. She could feel his cool flesh, feel the heat between them, and then he was pushing her back on the desk, and his weight pressed down on her, the feel of his smooth skin against her hands as she caressed his back, and the sound of his breathing — the breath he didn’t need — as she bucked and groaned and gnawed at his mouth, and he was Spike, her Spike, her evil pretty vampire man, and they were as they were supposed to be, wrestling and fucking and together and loving/hating/fighting/kissing/clinging/all of it, all of it, he was everything, they were everything, she was gone inside this, gone completely, there was no confusion, nothing beyond what she needed, and she needed this, she needed him, why, why couldn’t she... she wasn’t... she wanted to....

   She opened her eyes to find herself slumped on her desk over the paperwork she hadn’t finished filling out, her clit swollen between her legs, her panties wet, turned on so hard she shuddered as she woke. Damn. Another one of those dreams.

   That wasn’t the first sex-dream she’d had about Spike. She’d had them a lot. She had them even before they’d stopped trying to kill each other. She had them more after she’d started having sex with Riley and had a better idea what sex actually entailed. And once she’d started having sex with Spike the dreams had taken on full vivid technicolor surround sound with Dolby THX, and realistic virtual seating technology, and no, that thing that had happened in the bathroom hadn’t stopped them. It just made them darker for a while.

   That was why she’d half thought Spike was a dream the first time she’d seen him in the basement. It wasn’t the first time she’d dreamed about Spike coming back. She dreamed of Spike coming back at least three times a week, if not every night. Coming back and apologizing, coming back and trying to kill her, coming back having her mean nothing to him at all. And yes, coming back and fucking her senseless. The idea of him coming back crazy was a new one, but no stranger than most of the others.

   Now that he was back, she still dreamed about him. Dreamed about him on his knees before her. Dreamed about him burning on the cross. Dreamed about him suddenly being perfectly normal, and hanging out in his crypt over liquor and bad Dracula films.

   And yes. More dreams of him fucking her senseless. Because damn, Spike knew how to fuck her.

   Part of her wanted Spike back. All of Spike, the Spike she knew, the Spike who had been her friend before they’d started fucking. But Spike was gone... he had a soul and he’d lost his mind and he was gone, right? Like when Angel had his soul he wasn’t Angelus anymore, so who was this Spike, now, apart from insane and alone and guilt-ridden and....

   And wanting to save the girl.

   Still seemed like the Spike she knew.

   Buffy shook her head and tried to focus on her paperwork, but the words were blurring, and she couldn’t see clearly. The light from the desk lamp and the computer monitor wasn’t adequate for her level of exhaustion. She glanced at the computer — god, no wonder. It was ten o’clock. It was after seven the last time she’d looked at the time, had she been asleep that long? She looked back down at the paper work, but looking at the computer screen had actually made it even harder to see now. She needed more light. She stood up to go to the door and turn on the overhead which Principal Wood’s receptionist had conscientiously turned off before she had gone home that evening.

   She put her hand on the light switch by the door, but paused. She heard something. Something strange, some kind of banging, coming down the hall. She poked her head out. The sound was coming from the library with its yellow Crime Scene tape smacked over the doors, but there was no light shining through the glass window. Bang. Bang. Bang, bang. Bang.

   Something was happening in there. She knew the ritual had worked and a demon had indeed been summoned. Was there another? Slower than the first, maybe? Or was the first demon only some kind of harbinger or scout, checking out to see if there really was a sacrifice, and the real big bad was here tonight?

   She had to check it out. She paused on the way down the hall and picked up a fire axe from the wall. Now she was armed.

   The banging continued as she approached the library. It sounded somewhat muffled, but faintly metallic. There was a subtle chime or a hum to the sound. What was it? She peered through the dark window. There was definitely movement. Something pale....

   She kicked open the door, ignoring the crime scene tape, and brandished the fire axe. “Whatever you’re after, you just bit off more than you can chew,” she started, only to feel the axe grabbed by a strong hand to her left. She started, surprised — most demons apart from the really powerful vampires just weren’t that fast.

   Oh. Of course he was fast. It was Spike. He took one look at Buffy holding the axe and gave what could only be termed a hysterical laugh. “Do we really need weapons for this?” he said, his face tortured. “Do it fast, pet. I don’t feel it anymore.”

   Buffy felt weird seeing Spike, her panties still wet from her dream. Spike could usually tell when she was aroused. She wondered if he could still tell, if it confused him, whether he’d assume something, and hoped to god he just didn’t notice. “I thought it was a demon.”

   He made a half amused, half tortured sound.

   “I meant another demon. I meant a bad... a....” There was no way to clean that up without digging herself deeper. “I didn’t know it was you.”

   “Not me, though, is it?” he asked. “Me died a long long time ago....” He stared out into the empty distance, as if looking for something. “Long time ago, and far away... the music died, love. We all died.” He regarded her with the axe. “Here to help me cut it out?”

   Buffy couldn’t follow. Did he mean his soul, his heart, the banging? “No,” she said evenly.

   He let the axe go with a shrug and turned away from her, turning back to the spot in the floor where the carpeting was starting to fray. “‘Course not. Can’t help the Spike. Worse when you’re here, worse worse when you’re never there. Never there, always there, never there again.” He wore no shoes. His feet were pale beneath his jeans. He took up a large metal object that had been lying on the floor. “Always... cut... it... out....”

   Spike attacked the carpet. It was the metal sign frame that held up announcements about library events, like school clubs or whatever. He was using the heavy base as a hammer, beating at the floor. Bang. Bang bang.

   So that had been the sound. “Spike, why are you trying to kill the carpet?”

   “I have to get rid of it,” he muttered. “Can’t let it stay, leave your heart on the carpet where it fell out, where she tore it out, gotta beat it out.” He hit the carpet over and over, denting even the floor underneath.

   And the reason dawned on Buffy. The library was otherwise completely untouched since the night before. The cut ropes still lay on the floor, coins were still scattered across the carpet, burned out candles lay haphazardly around the room. That spot in the carpet wasn’t just frayed by Spike’s attack, it was stained. This was where the boy’s blood had fallen, where that demon had attacked him and he’d bled and Buffy had left him there to try and sort it out himself. She hadn’t realized at the time, but of course she should have. Spike was half starved in the basement. She didn’t know what he could have been eating, but the scent of the boy’s blood was probably torture.

   “Spike, don’t,” she said.

   He kept hitting the carpet.

   “Don’t!” She grabbed his arm and made him look at her. His blue eyes were shadows in the darkened library, but the big windows let the moonlight in. He looked about to cry. “It’ll get cleaned up, Spike,” she said.

   “It won’t,” he said, sounding hopeless. “It won’t. It’s stained deep. The blood too deep until it burns it black, and it’ll never get clean. Never.” He hit the stain of blood again. “Gotta beat it out. Water won’t wash it clean, blood stains the slate for good, gotta break it. Beat it, got—”

   Buffy slammed her fire axe into the floor, interrupting his next blow. It stuck there, and Spike looked startled. “There,” she said. “I killed it.”

   He stared at the axe in the blood stained carpet for a second, and then laughed again. “Gotta slay it, do you?” He laughed, and it was a sob, and then it was a laugh again. “No hurting the girl.”

   “It’s fine, Spike,” Buffy said. “We have to get....” She stopped as a flash of light caught her attention. Someone was in the building. Someone was walking into the high school at night, someone was coming with a flashlight right towards the library.... Buffy debated for one second just standing there, since she worked here, she had every right to be there....

   Standing in the dark in a crime scene with a man who she’d sworn up and down all day didn’t exist. Right.

   “Come on!” Buffy hissed, and grabbed Spike by the arm. She pulled him back behind the desk, where she expected to find a space for someone to sit, but no, this wasn’t that kind of library, and this wasn’t that kind of desk. They were utterly exposed back there, and Buffy had to think quick and pull Spike up with her behind a filing cabinet.

   Buffy then cringed in horror as whoever had crept up in here with a flashlight just turned the damn lights on. She turned her head to the edge of the wall to peer around, and saw Principal Wood, of all people, looking down at the mess. He frowned at the fire axe, and then wrenched it out of the floor. He didn’t seem to find it easy. Then he bent to his knees and started cleaning up. The first things he picked up were the bits of scattered rotting demon meat, which struck Buffy as an odd thing for him to be interested in, but she quickly stopped being interested in that, because she was pressed up against a wall against Spike, and it was... distracting. To say the least.

   She turned her head away from Wood to look at Spike in the bright light. His skin was paler than she’d ever seen it, and his eyes... her chest spasmed as if she’d been shocked. Good god, his eyes.... There were a thousand tortures in his eyes, and they weren’t cold anymore. The ice blue had turned warm, like a Caribbean sea....

   Wood must have gathered whatever he was after, because the light switched off, and they found themselves in darkness, and within the darkness Spike and Buffy were kissing.

   Buffy wasn’t sure how it happened. She hadn’t decided to kiss him. She was pretty sure he hadn’t decided to kiss her. He was so overwhelmed by guilt, and she knew he was, and she hadn’t forgiven him, and she hadn’t forgiven herself, and she was angry at him and she hated herself, or at least the person she had been last year, and she wanted to hate him, and she didn’t. She didn’t. And they were kissing.

   They were always kissing. They’d been close, pressed up against each other, it seemed so natural. When she and Spike got close they were either fucking or fighting, and they couldn’t fight right now, so they were kissing. Buffy waited for the voice in her head which would tell her no , that this was wrong, he was evil, she didn’t want complications, they were mortal enemies and it was over, completely over, never going to happen again, it was never serious, and he did that awful thing to her, and it was totally over so why was she kissing Spike like this when she wasn’t going to kiss Spike and he was never going to be with her again and it didn’t seem to matter, because the voice was asleep, and she was kissing Spike, Spike, Spike lips and Spike teeth and Spike chest and Spike hands and Spike tongue and Spike taste and she was already wet from her earlier dream and, of course, that was it, dream, that’s why the voice wasn’t there, she was still dreaming. It was another one of those stupid dreams.

   She tried to wake herself up, and instead found she’d climbed him like she had that first time in the abandoned house, wrapping her legs around his hips as his hands supported her, found her buttocks, lifted her against him. She could feel him hard through their clothes, and she ground against his length, and fuck, she needed this, it had been too damn long and she wanted this, she wanted Spike, oh, FUCK, she wanted Spike, she’d always wanted Spike, she was always going to want Spike, oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh, god, yes, Spike!

   “Spike!”

   Spike pushed away from the wall, and they fell to the carpet, onto their knees. The kiss was deeper now, solid, real, passionate, the way it always was between them. Of course it was, she was dreaming, it would be as it was before, as she remembered it being, as she remembered him being. Her hands were sliding up his torso, slipping under the shirt, dancing over his ribs, the cool flesh she knew so damn well. God, she’d missed this. Missed him. So much.

   He pulled away, but only for a second, as Buffy pulled his shirt over his head, because of course she did, because there was no reason not to, because she wanted him, she always wanted him, and there he was, against her, beside her, beneath her hands, and she couldn't stop touching him, ever, ever, she never wanted to stop, even when she knew she shouldn’t (shouldn’t, shouldn’t, who says she shouldn’t, who?) so she did what she wanted, and what she wanted was Spike.

   “More,” Spike murmured. “More, that’s more, more and she wants it, you—”

   Buffy kissed him again now that his shirt was off, and the constant murmuring faded as Spike grabbed the kiss, his hand on the back of her head, guiding her, owning her, the way he knew she liked to be kissed, as if it were war. As if she were about to pull away.

   She’d always acted like she was pulling away.

   To hell with that.

   Spike broke the kiss for a moment, staring down at her in the moonlight. For a split second, she thought he was going to panic. But then his eyes narrowed, and his breath deepened. “More,” he growled, and he lunged for her, and they really were going for it now, weren’t they. Buffy rolled over, pulling him atop her, and he gazed down at her. “You want to feel it again, Buffy? You want more?”

   “Yes,” she whispered. She felt like she’d fallen, like she was falling. Off the tightrope again. “God, yes.”

   The way she said that made Spike draw in a breath, staring at her. “No….” he whispered. “No, no, not that, do you want it, no, say no to her, say it, say—”

   “Spike,” Buffy said, trying to cut through the madness. “It’s all right.”

   “I don’t want to make you evil,” he whispered to her.

   Buffy’s eyes closed. She’d been evil last year. To him, at least. She had, but he’d never called her on it, and she hadn’t wanted to admit it, and it hurt so much that he felt like he’d done it. He hadn’t done it to her. She’d done it to herself. “You didn’t, Spike. You won’t. You won’t.”

   “You want...?”

   “Yes.”

   She never said yes. She always let it happen, or made it happen. She never simply said yes.

   And then they were kissing again, and he arched over her, his body hard and smooth and god he was so beautiful. She knew he was beautiful. He’d always been beautiful, even when he was trying to kill her, she loved his beauty, his sharp edges, his soft corners, everything about his body, his face, his grace, his voice, and him, him, him, Spike, who could completely take her over even when she’d put up every guard and ward and sharp stake between him and her.

   He unbuttoned her blouse, slowly, tenderly, gazing at his hands on the fabric as if they were creatures unconnected to him, beautiful and curious beasts with their own autonomy which knew what they were after and how to get there. And when she was unbuttoned they found it, pulling aside the fabric and revealing the soft warm flesh beneath. His hands found her breasts beneath their satin bra, kneading them gently as Spike gazed after, curious, amazed. It felt like heaven, and the expression on his face was almost innocent in its wonder.

   Buffy kissed him again, and a tiny moan escaped her as his hand left her breast and pulled her tightly against him, the cool press of his hand on her back. He undid her bra one handed, and then pulled away, pulling her with him. His hand slid up her shoulder, and her bra and blouse fell away on that side. She pulled her arm out and gripped him around the back of the head, drawing the kiss closer, hotter, deeper yet as skin met skin, and she held him close, both naked to the waist.

   She pulled him back down with her, her hands automatically going for his jeans, unbuttoning the dark denim, sliding her hands along his waist, his hips, feeling his smooth sleekness as the fabric began to slide away. His muscles were so defined, his body hers to enjoy as they found each other yet again, unable to stop, they could never stop….

   He kicked the jeans off his ankles, and there he was, completely naked before her as they kissed and kissed on the library carpet, hungrily, steadily, dreamily. Buffy unbuttoned her own tight, professional skirt, and wriggled out of it like a butterfly out of a cocoon. She slid one leg out of her panties, which was more than enough to be getting on with, because dammit, this was Spike, and she wanted him inside her already.

   His familiar scent of earth and cigarette smoke was gone, replaced with something more musty than earthy, and Spike hadn’t been smoking (and boy, wasn’t that an odd detail to notice if this was still a dream, but didn’t she often have odd details in…? Oh, fuck it, it didn’t matter) but the other scent, the scent of Spike, the tangy heady musk of a vampire in his prime, tempered with his own personal signature, that was still there, and it was, as always, the most powerful aphrodisiac she could imagine. She always wanted more of it, wanted to roll in it, smell it on her later. She wasn’t a vampire, she couldn’t scent things like he could, but oh, the smell of him would linger on her for hours after….

   Oh, god, yes, his length. There it was, smooth and powerful in her hand, hard for her, hungry for her, reaching for her. She slid her hand up and down, up and down, and Spike tilted his head back, and grunted, flexing in her hand, as if he almost spurted then. But no. He knew how to keep himself hard for her.

   Buffy sat up and straddled his knees, sliding herself onto him, holding it gently to guide it inside. She sat on his lap and thrust over him, determined to give him one god damn good feeling just for a minute within this writhing torment he’d landed himself in. (Why? Why, Buffy, after what he did to you, you should hate him, you’re pissed off at him, you haven’t forgiven him, why do you still want...? Why did you always want...?) Didn’t matter. She did want.

   And he felt so damn perfect inside her. She tilted her head back, almost sobbing with how amazing it felt, thrusting and cording over him, her breath coming hard, and Spike stared at her. “Do it,” he said low. “Do it. Do it. Make yourself come, Buffy, feel it. Feel me inside you. Just let me be in you....”

   He always was. He always had been, and she’d always wanted him there, and smack!!! Spike slapped her buttocks with both hands, and the sharp pain threw her over the edge, and she squealed her orgasm into the night. They paused as she stared at him, as they stared at each other, and Spike had a suddenly wicked gleam in his eye, a look she remembered, he... almost looked sane.

   “Yeah,” he muttered then, in a voice that sounded like sex itself. “I know what my girl needs.” He flipped her over and pulled at her hips, pulling her up onto her knees. Down on all fours, her hips in the air, Spike caressed her waist, took hold of her hips, positioned himself before her slickness. “Do you feel it, Buffy?” His voice out of the darkness. Very suddenly he drove deep into her, striking at parts inside that made her cry out, unable to hold the sound back. “Deep. Deep, deep inside you, all the way. You have it?” He thrust deep, over and over again, so deep it was painful, and thank god, thank god for the pain of it, because it was right, it was what they were supposed to feel, it was what they always caused each other. Pain. The best and the worst kinds of pain. “That’s what you want?”

   “Yes,” she murmured.

   He thrust again. “That? That what you want?”

   “Yes!”

   “You want, you want….”

   “Yes, damn you, oh, god!”

   “Damn me,” he said. “Damned, damned, Buffy, damned.”

   He thrust deeply, hard, over and over and over, and Buffy’s cries grew louder and less controlled, until she was moaning and grunting enough that she dizzily wondered if Principal Wood had left the building, because if he hadn’t he’d surely be back any second to see who was being….

   Fucked. Thoroughly and properly fucked. Spike gave one more thrust and then held tight to her. She thought at first he might have come, but no, no, he was just pulling one of his other tricks, the ones that kept her coming back over and over and over again, as he held deep inside her and then tensed, vibrating his body against and inside hers, tiny little shaking that rocked through her whole being and made every single inch of her feel like it was coming, even when she wasn’t yet.

   “Oh, god!”

   She gasped as he sent little shocks through her, over and over again, until she felt she was about to come apart at the seams, and then he pulled away and started thrusting again, in and out, smooth and sleek, and then going back to the electric shocks of pleasure, and then back to the thrusts, and she’d lost track now of how many times she’d come, or what was orgasm and what wasn’t, really, it was all just good and good and more good and Spike, Spike, feels so good….

   She didn’t know if she was speaking aloud. Spike was, still, murmuring under his breath as he had been almost every time she’d seen him, but it wasn’t so different from how they’d made love before, that’s it, pet, I’ve got you, that’s right, love, feel it, feel it, feel me, I’ve got you. He’d always murmured and whispered and used his voice to make love to her as much as his body. Of course in his madness he’d fall into stream of consciousness words and whispers. It was what Spike always did.

   Another fast burst of movement, and suddenly Spike cried out, unable to hold it back any longer. For a long moment he froze, for once completely silent as the pleasure rocked through him. Then there was a desperate gasp. He pulled his body away from hers, and she turned on the carpet. Her knees were sore. His probably were, too. But oh, the rest of her felt real, warm, close. She wasn’t alone.

   She looked up at him. He was on his knees, his legs spread, his breath coming deeply and evenly. He regarded her for a long moment. “What you wanted?” he asked.

   It seemed strange, the question. But given how they’d left things... maybe not so much. “How about you?” she asked, her voice quiet.

   He made a small sound, with a hopeless expression. “Oh, Buffy, Buffy. What’s it matter what I want?” His head sank. “She’ll tell you,” he whispered to himself. “One day she’ll tell you.”

   “Who? Tell me what?”

   Spike shook his head and looked down. “I know what I am,” he said. “I know, I know. I know what she wants.”

   “Spike? What do you mean?”

   He lifted his eyes to hers, and then surged forward, startling her. “My girl wants more,” he hissed into her face. Buffy gasped, and yeah, after that dangerous growl, she fucking did. “Still hungry,” he whispered. “Still hungry.” She thought he was going to kiss her, but no, no, he slid down, kissing her breasts and belly gently, and then sinking beneath to her groin, where he found her still swollen clit and kissed it gently.

   “Spike,” Buffy whispered. She wasn’t sure what she was trying to do, if she wanted to stop him or what, but he only murmured, “Hungry,” into her pussy and set about feasting on it.

   Buffy moaned, her head thrown back. She could never get enough of this, never, never. It seemed Spike felt much the same. He licked and nibbled and tickled at her secret spaces, and Buffy lowered her hand and found his. Their fingers laced together, and she gripped him tighter as every jolt of pleasure arced through her.

   He kept on her, over and over, and as the last orgasm peaked he wouldn’t leave it alone. He kept teasing it, drawing it out longer, as Buffy’s screams absolutely assured her that they were alone in the building, because there was no way anyone could ignore that.

   Finally he stopped torturing her with pleasure, and turned his head from her cleft, gazing up at her, his chin still moist. For a long, long moment, they stared.

   God, his eyes looked deep. Deep and real, and Buffy was scared by them, scared by them as she had been in the church, scared by Spike who had never scared her before he went and got that soul. Save once. And that was why he’d gone to get it….

   “Come up here,” she said, pulling on his hand.

   He crawled over her, his eternally sexy panther crawl, the one that he had to know was enough to make a prude need pantyliners. His weight felt good over her, and she put her arms around his shoulders and pulled him down to her chest where she could look at him. She gently rubbed his chin with her thumb, touching away the wetness, caressing his lower lip. “Do you love me?” she heard herself ask.

   He shook his head. “Buffy,” he said with a hopeless laugh. “Thought I was the one who was crazy. Asking stupid questions, are we?”

   “After everything,” she insisted.

   “I’ll always love you,” he whispered.

   “Kiss me.”

   He lifted himself and kissed her. He was hard again. Buffy spread and invited him in with her body, and Spike’s eyes closed as he entered her, his thrusts smooth and even and almost sleepy.

   “Just take it,” she whispered. “Just take it, take your pleasure, you’ve earned it. Take it. Take me.”

   “Can't,” he whispered. “Belong to you. Thing can’t take what it belongs to.”

   God, she’d done a number on him. “You’re not a thing, Spike. I should never have said that.”

   Spike looked down at her.

   “Are you sorry?” he asked after a moment.

   Buffy felt hard done by in that moment. She didn’t want to say yes, and she didn’t want to say no. “Are you?” she asked.

   “Always,” he said softly. “That’s what it’s about.”

   Buffy sank beneath him and pulled him deeper. “God, yes,” she whispered. She didn’t know what she was saying it about.

   Spike held her and she held him, and if she held him hard enough that it would have broken a human man, he didn’t complain, and if he pushed down so hard it could have bruised a human woman, Buffy only enjoyed the feel of his strength. Buffy’s last orgasm was soft and glowing and it trickled through her like a summer rain. It sent her oddly still as it coursed through her, and she only gasped her pleasure.

   Spike grunted a moment later, and finally went still over her, his face buried in her throat, their limbs entwined. He shifted, sliding out of her, looking down at her face, still flushed, she knew, from orgasm. “This was it, you know. This was all I was after. This was what I wanted, not screaming blood and don’t, don’t do this. I didn’t want that. I didn’t….”

   “I know,” Buffy said quietly.

   “I didn’t want to hurt you,” he said. “Never. Never wanted to hurt… you.”

   “I know.”

   He regarded her for a long moment. “You wanted that. Me to hurt you. Me to hurt. So I could hurt you.”

   He was right. That was what she’d wanted. She’d wanted to hurt him. She’d wanted him to hurt her. She wanted to be justified in hating him, and eventually she’d pushed him far enough he did just that. Justified her hatred. And once he had, once he’d pushed too far… she didn’t want to hate him anymore.

   It had been a mistake. She hadn’t really realized how… evil… she had become, in regards to him.

   “I didn’t mean to,” she whispered.

   “I didn’t mean to, either.”

   They regarded each other across the little space, their bodies entangled, and suddenly the absurdity of the whole thing touched across them both, and smiles cracked. “I’m sorry,” he said in the quiet laughter.

   Buffy almost said it. She almost apologized. She was afraid if she did it would break her, even in this dream, if it was still a dream, but she still couldn’t. But it came so easily in that other dream…. You’ve said it so often in so many dreams….

   And then it was too late. Spike’s laughter had turned to tears, and he pulled away, suddenly. “No,” he said. “Got to hide it, got to hide. Hide away, got...” He was wrestling on his pants, and Buffy felt bewildered. The first time she’d been willing to just hold him, and he, dammit. He couldn’t hold the moment. He snatched up his shirt and before Buffy even had time to call him back properly, he was gone, slid into the darkness like the demon he was.

   Buffy felt strangely awkward, lying almost naked on the library floor. She quickly scooped up her clothes — she was still wearing her calf high boots, look at that — and slid the skirt and the blouse back over her sweating, sated body. God, she felt good... and bad. And boy did she know that feeling when it came to Spike.

   She had to go after him. Maybe it was time to try and talk to him now, maybe time to sort this out. Get a real apology. (Give a real apology....) She still felt strange and floating and dreamlike, and it was time, it was time to....

   Well, maybe time to get him out of the basement. It was the hellmouth, it can’t have been helping his twisted mind. “There’s evil down here,” he had said. It could have been interpreted as just him — he was the evil down there — but Buffy was fairly sure there was more. She could feel it, down there, a coldness, and not just the chill of the underground. A sinister malevolence that made even the walls seem to move... if they weren’t actually shifting.

   There were no lights anywhere, except for the dim lamp shining from the open door to her office. She had a flashlight in her purse. She made sure her clothes were back together, yanked her tousled hair more properly into its ponytail, and went back to her desk to get it.

   She sat down in the dim light and dragged up her purse, digging for the little pocket flashlight. Dammit, where was it.... Was it in her other bag? She wouldn’t have forgotten it... dammit, where...?

   She gave up, dropping the purse on the ground, and buried her face in her hands. The one time things seemed to be going well, Spike had seemed to be getting better, things had started to make sense in her head, one moment of brightness in the fog, and it was all about to be swallowed up by the dark again....

   Just calm down, Buffy, she told herself. Calm. The fuck. Down. Don’t overreact. Don’t panic. Just take a few calming breaths, then get up, and go down to the basement. You can turn on the stupid lights.

   She took a deep breath. Then another. Then another.

   “Burning the midnight oil, I guess?” said a voice she did not find familiar. She started up and made a small noise as the overhead light was switched on.

   “Principal Wood! Gah, you startled me.”

   “I didn’t expect anyone to be here. Did you know it’s nearly ten?”

   Nearly ten? Buffy looked up at the wall clock. It did say quarter to ten. That was... that would mean time had switched backwards since she’d woken up and gone to the library and seen Spike...? That didn’t make sense.

   “What are you still doing here?”

   “Paperwork,” Buffy said. “Cassie. I... guess I fell asleep....” She felt very confused now.

   “Yeah, that’s what I’m back for, too. I just went out to get a proper supper. Look, save the paperwork, you should get home yourself. And, uh... you know you can call me Robin.”

   He had taken on a... well, it wasn’t creepy, but it was a more intimate air than professional. As if he wanted to be her friend. Maybe something more. He was cute, but... her boss... and there was Spike... and she’d just....

   Or had she just...? Time was off, she’d had a lot of dreams of Spike. Her panties were wet, but what else was new when her Spike dreams took over...?

   She snatched up her purse and went to the door. “Yeah, the files sort of got away from me,” she said. “I’m not used to having to clean up after....”

   “Crazy kids coming up with some sacrificial cult?” Principal Wood asked. “Yeah, you’d be surprised what happens in schools these days.”

   “If you want I can help you,” Buffy said. “Get the rest of the coins and stuff, make sure none of the other kids can find a way to start the ritual.”

   “Help me?”

   “Clean up the library,” Buffy said. “Weren’t you just in there cleaning...?”

   “Buffy, the library’s a crime scene,” Robin Wood said. “No one’s allowed in there.”

   He hadn’t been...? She glanced out into the hall. The fire axe was still where it belonged, screwed onto the wall.

   “Yeah,” she said. “Right.” She closed her eyes. “I need more sleep.”

   It hadn’t been real. Everything that happened in the library. Her. Spike. That moment of clarity, that purity, that truth, that connection between them despite his twisted mind, it was all a stupid dream. Of course it was. Because when it was real, there were barriers, realities, too much blood between them. She’d sort of known it was a dream all along. Reaching out for the impossible. Stupid psyche.

   She suddenly felt like crying.

   “I’m going home. Goodnight... uh, Robin.”

   “Night!” He waved her off.

   Twenty minutes later he looked up from his own paperwork to see that the clock in the staff office hadn’t moved. It still said quarter to ten. He finished signing off on the papers and contentiously changed the clock’s battery before he headed back home.

   

***

 

   Down in the basement a demon paced back and forth in his own confusion. Buffy, Buffy, her scent surrounding him, her warmth enveloping him, her voice, her eyes, her hands, so gentle, so forgiving, such passion, such kindness, such....

   “You know I’m never going to forgive you, don’t you?” the other Buffy said from the corner where it lurked. Sometimes it was kinder than the real Buffy. Most times it was crueler. What it mostly did was confuse him, twist him up, hurt him. The pain and the dreams and the voices and the guilt....

   “You didn’t mean to,” he said. “You didn’t mean to hurt me, you said... you said....”

   “I didn’t mean to touch you, you idiot,” the Buffy said. “I didn’t mean to accept you. I didn’t mean to forgive you. Of course I meant to hurt you. You’re evil.” She leaned forward with a wicked grin and he cringed. “And I’ll never touch you again.”

   He didn’t know what was real. He couldn’t stop the voices. Or the visions. Or...

   He scratched at his body. The scent of her had to be a lie. Because Buffy, wanting him, accepting him, forgiving him? Buffy, really there with him for once? No.

   It was just another one of those dreams.