He really couldn’t put his finger on exactly when things had changed so drastically and painfully between them.
Perhaps they never had.
Perhaps things had always been this way – he had simply been too blinded by his own love to allow himself to see her hatred.
Because by now, he knew – she had to hate him.
There was no way that she could do the things she did to him, hurt him so viciously and deliberately, unless she hated him completely.
He did not know how his existence had reached this point – how it had become reduced to this state of constant misery and fear and torment. Back when it had started, he would never have imagined that it would eventually come to this – and it had happened so gradually that he had not seen it coming, had not realized it as it had happened.
But he *did* know where it had started.
It had started with a simple game…
He had been feeling particularly hopeful that night.
Physically, their bodies had come together with the same intensity of perfection in pleasure that they always seemed to have. Somehow, without words, each just *knew* how, where, to touch the other, in order to bring them slowly – or swiftly, depending on her mood – to the brink of ecstasy…and to send them sliding easily – or careening madly – over the edge and back down to a sated ease, when they were through.
And that night had been no exception.
She had surprised him with the casual conversation she had initiated afterwards – complimenting him on his home, commenting on her own – and for a few brief moments, he had felt a spark of hope rising up in him, wondering if perhaps this was the first step toward something more – something better, deeper, than what they already shared.
He had asked her if she trusted him – and she had broken his heart for the millionth time when she had told him in no uncertain terms that she didn’t, and never would.
And then – she had turned the tables on him.
She had asked him if *he* trusted *her* – and an instinctive thrill of fear had shot down his spine at the suggestion behind her question.
He knew better – he really did.
She was the Slayer – and she had made it perfectly clear just how little he meant to her, how easily she could kill him if he gave her a single shred of a reason.
To trust her was nothing short of madness.
But the hurt in her eyes when he hesitated had driven him to make what he now, in hindsight, thought was possibly the worst mistake of his entire existence. It didn’t matter to him that she had just blatantly stated that *she* could never trust *him* – or that she had no qualms about hurting him under ordinary circumstances, let alone in the midst of a kinky sex game – he had seen the injured expression on her face, and had immediately replied with soft devotion, determined to soothe the hurt he had caused with his all-too-revealing eyes.
A simple response that he had come to regret.
Now, he wondered if that hurt he had seen in her shining emerald gaze, the hurt that had driven him to such recklessness, had been anything more than a cunning deception.
She had been a goddess that night.
Cruel and breathtakingly beautiful, she had passed on the handcuffs he had offered in favor of the stronger iron shackles that he had once placed her in, during one of his ill-fated and misguided attempts to prove his love to her. He knew that she had chosen them because she knew they were strong enough to hold a Slayer – and therefore certainly strong enough to hold a vampire.
Buffy had been playing for keeps.
She had chained him to his own bed – placing him utterly at her mercy – and had then proceeded to inflict on his willing, responsive body the sweetest torment of pleasure and pain that he had every experienced.
He had no idea where she had learned the things she had done to him – or if perhaps there was some instinct innate in all Slayers.
If so, he thought, he had missed the bloody boat in killing the last two.
*What a bloody waste!*
But right here, and right now, there was nothing and no one that he wanted but his glorious, gorgeous Slayer, as she teased his body to the very peak of oblivion, expertly combining pleasure and pain – and then taking advantage of the power she held over him, holding out on him until he was babbling desperately, begging for her touch and straining against the bonds that held him to the bed – and at her mercy.
Finally, she had relented, riding his body to her own release – and drawing him over the edge with her, leaving them both sweat-soaked and shattered and panting, limp limbs entangled in the bedclothes as they gradually recovered from the most intense encounter they had ever had.
After that night – neither of them could get enough.
The chains became a usual part of the games they played, as the Slayer became ever more inventive – and ever less mindful of Spike’s needs and desires as they played.
It was obvious from the start that she reveled in the power she held over him, as she mercilessly toyed with his body, withholding the satisfaction that she knew he craved from her, until the last possible second – until it suited her to allow it. She loved to hear him beg her to touch him, to take him inside her – to ease the pent-up passion that she would slowly, torturously build up inside him with her light, teasing touches.
She loved the fact that she could do whatever she wanted to him, and there was nothing he could do to stop her.
Not that he would have wanted to stop her – at first, anyway.
Spike had never known the sweet intensity of having her focus all of her attentions on *him*, and *his* body, during their encounters. It had always been all about her – her pain, her desires…and whether or not he could satiate her thoroughly enough to prevent her striking out in violence and cruel words when she was through with him.
There had been times when she had left him wanting, aching with need for her, once her own satisfaction had been achieved.
Now – she relished the ability she had to play his body like a finely tuned instrument, as he moaned and gasped and writhed under her hand…a slave to the pleasure of her expert touch.
The Slayer had discovered a new way to enjoy her power.
And Spike had enjoyed it too – for a while.
Until the game had become…darker…frightening.
He remembered well the first time she had hurt him, more than he wanted to be hurt. His body had arched up into her touch, as one hand had pinched his nipple hard, sending little electric spasms of pleasure-pain all through his body, and the other had traveled slowly, intently, down the length of his torso – hard, carefully manicured fingernails scoring his flawless skin and leaving thin trails of blood in their wake.
He had hissed and writhed and tried in vain to twist away from her touch – but he had not really wanted her to stop.
And then…she had brought those deadly sharp nails lower than she had before, halting just at the base of his weeping erection, and eliciting a sharp cry of pain from his lips as she dug in slightly, leaving deep indentations in his sensitive flesh, though she had not broken the skin.
He had begged her to stop – tried in earnest to pull away – and she had ignored him, smiling maliciously into his eyes as she had very slowly, very deliberately, trailed though sharp, vicious nails down the length of his most vital, vulnerable part. He had moaned in pain – and she had raised a hand to stifle the scream that rose in his throat, as she had only intensified the savage pressure she was inflicting.
Yes, he remembered that moment clearly – the first moment in which he had said “no”…asked her to stop…and she had *not* stopped.
As much as he did not want what she was doing to him, he *was* a vampire through and through – and the combination of the intense pain and the pressure on his swollen, needy member had brought about his completion – as his seed had spilt on the bed, mingling with the rivers of blood from the scoring of her nails on his skin.
He had sensed something different in her that night – something cold and dangerous and deadly – and had wisely said nothing, as she had raised herself up on hands and knees, crawling up his body until her own swollen, sodden center hovered over his mouth.
And he had obeyed her silent command – bringing about her own release, even as his own sex throbbed with the agony of the abuse she had inflicted on it.
He had still said nothing as she had lain beside him, gasping for breath and slowly recovering from the encounter. And then, as she had risen from the bed and unchained him, he had still kept his silence – until he was free of the bonds, and she was on her way out the door.
“Buffy,” he had stopped her, his voice soft and carefully even, though he had had to struggle to control its trembling.
She had turned slightly, a questioning, cold expression on her face.
He had held her gaze, with an extreme force of will, though he wanted to look away, as he had stated softly, firmly, “You will *never* touch me again.”
The Slayer had studied his expression seriously for a moment – before her face broke into a mocking smile of affectionate amusement. “Oh, Spike,” she murmured, shaking her head slowly. “Of course I will.”
He had promised himself that night that she would not.
And the next time she had shown up at his door – he had let her in.
And that moment of his surrender to her, Spike remembered – had been the beginning of the end of his freedom.