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That Awkward Moment When Your Little Sister Finds You Handcuffed To A Headboard

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"Slayer." Buffy shivered as his voice curled around her, enticingly dark and promisingly seductive.

"Spike," the blonde young woman replied, forcing her voice to sound calm. She refused to acknowledge the effect the bleached blond vampire had on her, no matter how attractive he looked lounging casually against the wall of his crypt.

"Fancy seeing you here, pet," Spike drawled, arching one eyebrow, a smirk on his lips. "I thought you said you weren't coming back."

"I did," Buffy replied, her voice weary. She felt so tired. The weight of this harsh, violent, bloody world was on her shoulders. She just wanted to rest, to have it all go away.

"So, why are you here then?" Spike probed, enjoying making her say it. Then he looked more closely. There were shadows under her eyes. Her face looked gaunter and she had definitely lost weight, not that she had any to lose in the beginning.

"Love?" Spike asked hesitantly, all teasing gone from his voice. "What's wrong?"

Buffy almost wanted to laugh. 'What's wrong?' he asked. Not 'are you okay?' He knew she wasn't okay; she hadn't been okay, not for a long time. She tried to smile, tried to think of some smart ass retort. But she couldn't. She just looked at him.

Spike was at her side in an instant. He gathered her in his arms, holding her close, one hand rubbing her back while the other stroked her hair. The look on her face had sent daggers shooting through his unbeating heart. She looked so lost and vulnerable, yet infinitely strong as she fought back the tears he could see trying to force their way out of her glazed eyes.

"What can I do?" he asked, pulling away and looking at the beautiful warrior he had fallen in love with. Buffy looked back at him, staring into his blue depths. Spike returned her gaze, baring his soul for the Slayer's examination. He didn't care that it left him vulnerable. Right now his girl needed someone she could trust. Needed him.

"Make me feel." The words were halfway between a plea and a command. Spike nodded, running one finger gently down the side of her face. Buffy closed her eyes and sighed, pressing into his caress. Spike was startled. This wasn't the Slayer's usual behavior. Usually she stormed in here, punched him in the nose, then proceeded to snog him senseless. This tired, vulnerable Buffy scared him more than any of her bone-breaking rages.

"Don't worry, love," Spike said, gently tipping her chin up so he could look into those stormy blue-grey depths. "I'll take care of you. You're safe here with me."

Buffy didn't reply, merely slid her hand up his chest and buried it in his hair, pulling him in for a kiss. Spike happily obliged, pillaging her mouth, filling his Slayer with the fire the grave had stolen from her.

"I want you," she whispered, pressing up against him, her free hand sliding beneath the edge of his shirt. Spike's breath caught as he felt her warm hand against his cold skin. She felt like warm sunshine against his night-frozen flesh.

"I always want you, pet," he replied, voice a rumbling murmur. Picking Buffy up, Spike carried her over his bed and gently lowered her onto the vast expanse of white sheets.

Buffy gasped as his weight pressed down on top of her. She grabbed the bottom of his shirt and smoothly pulled it over his muscled shoulders, revealing the delicious pale body beneath. She ran her hands all over him, digging her nails in, marking him as hers. She may hate him, hate what they did, but in that moment, Spike was hers, and she would never let him forget it.

Spike loved it when she got all possessive. It made him feel like he actually meant something to her. It was a delusion, he knew. She only came to him for the sex, and the feelings that only his lovemaking could inspire in her nowadays. But still, she came. She came to him, almost every day without fail. She needed him, and he was more than willing to bleed for her.

"Spike…" Buffy moaned, needing to feel more of him, all of him. He was her anchor, the only thing that kept her stable in this tumultuous sea. She would never admit it, but without him she would have succumbed to death long ago. She would have drifted off into her own mind and gladly accepted the end.

Clothes were quickly shed. They'd had enough practice by now that it only took a matter of seconds to remove the irritating barrier of cloth. Pants, shirt, and underthings were tossed vehemently aside.

Then they were skin to skin. Buffy gasped and Spike moaned. They rubbed up against each other, completely forgetting that they were supposed to be mortal enemies, the embodiments of good and evil. In that moment they were simply Spike and Buffy. Nothing else mattered but the touch of skin against skin and the wet, hot, open-mouthed kisses they exchanged.

Buffy felt like she was on fire. Nothing else could awaken her emotions this way, not even the hunt and the kill. This cold, dark crypt was the one place that she felt alive. The irony wasn't lost on her. This place of death was the only place where she felt like she wanted to live.

But it was different today. She still felt like she was drifting. Her body was here with Spike, but her mind was fading, shutting down. She didn't want that. She had to stay connected, for Dawn's sake if nothing else.

"Spike," Buffy said, looking into the lust-filled eyes of the handsome vampire. "Will you… Will you tie me up?"

Spike looked at her, shocked. She couldn't blame him. Just the other day she had fled when he had proposed it. But then he nodded, wisely not commenting on her change of heart.

"Sure, love," he said, his voice rumbling out of his chest in a way that sent shivers coursing through her already aching body. "The headboard's already equipped. Scoot up a bit and we'll have you all set."

Buffy obliged, wiggling herself up towards the headboard. Spike watched her sinuously stretching body intently, drinking her in with his eyes. He reached for the pair of black Velco cuffs attached to the solid wood.

"No," Buffy said, causing him to stop and look at her. Her gaze was fixed on the shiny, metallic set of real handcuffs bolted into the headboard. "Those ones."

"Are you sure, love?" Spike asked, wanting to be absolutely positive that she knew what she was doing. "These are vampire strength cuffs. I don't think you'd be able to break them."

"Are you planning on doing something that will make me want to break them?" Buffy asked, looking at him in a way he couldn't quite understand. "Are you planning on hurting me?"

"No!" Spike said, aghast that she had even considered that. They both liked it rough, but there was a difference between rough and sadistic. He should know.

"Then I'm sure," Buffy said. Spike looked into her eyes and understood. She felt like she was floating away, losing touch with reality. She wanted to feel anchored, grounded. Safe.

Not breaking eye contact, Spike gently grasped one of her arms and lifted it over her head, locking her wrist in the cold cuff. He did the same with the other. Then he leaned down and kissed her.

He wanted to thank her, to tell her how much it meant to him that she trusted him enough to let him see her vulnerable like this. He wanted to tell her that he loved her and she was beautiful and that he would never leave her. But he couldn't. She'd just run away.

So he showed her. He showed her with his body how much he loved her. He worshipped her yielding flesh and filled her with the fire she needed. She was unrestrained, holding nothing back. She didn't shy away from his lips or teeth. She welcomed them. They were reminders that she was alive, that her heart still beat. And when her release came crashing over her, she called his name and gripped him tight, urging him to crest with her, for in that brief moment she accepted him not only into her body but into her soul as well.

They slumped against each other, panting and spent. Buffy could hardly feel her legs and Spike was more than content just to lie against her, listening to her heart beat gradually slow.

"What – the hell – is going on here?" A voice broke through their reverie. Spike jerked upright, immediately shifting in front of Buffy, who had also bolted into the most upright position the cuffs would allow. Standing at the bottom of the stairs, a brown paper bag in one hand, mouth wide open, was Dawn.

Spike mentally uttered every swear word that he could think of in every language that he knew, and they still didn't do the situation justice. They had just been caught having kinky, mind-blowing sex by none other than Buffy's little sis. There was no way to salvage any kind of good from this situation.

"Dawn!" Buffy shrieked, having realized a split second after Spike who it was. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same question," Dawn replied, crossing her arms over her chest and looking at her sister, one eyebrow raised.

"Look, niblet, why don't you let big sis and I get decent and then we'll all talk about this," Spike said, trying to stop his words from sounding like a plea. Dawn looked at him, her eyes coolly calculating.

"No, I don't think so," Dawn said, setting her brown paper bag down on a small table and taking a seat in the chair next to it, facing the bed. "If I let you out of my sight, you'll just run off and refuse to talk to me ever again about this. So, we're having this conversation now."

"Dawn, don't be ridiculous," Buffy snapped, jerking on the handcuffs, clearly very irate. "Spike, where the hell are the keys to these damn things?"

"On the table," Spike said, nodding his head to indicate the table which Dawn was sitting next to, his face twisted into a self-mocking grimace. Dawn looked at the tabletop and saw a set of metal keys. Picking them up, she looked at them before slipping them into her pocket.

"Well, don't just sit there like an idiot," Buffy said, glaring at her sister. "Go get them from her."

"I'm many things, pet, but a pedophilic exhibitionist I am not," Spike said, looking at Dawn torn between anger and pride. That girl knew how to manipulate a situation to her liking. "I don't really feel like showing your baby sis my bits. She's already seen too much."

"If you try to come at me, I'll just chuck the keys out into the wonderfully bright and flame-inducing sunshine," Dawn said, grinning, knowing she had them now. Though she wouldn't have minded seeing Spike without the sheet he had pulled across his midsection. He was even more yummy-looking than she had pictured.

"Dawn Rose Summer, when I get out of these I am going to kill you," Buffy seethed, jerking on the chains again. "What are you getting out of this? Some vicarious thrill?"

"Nope," Dawn replied, ignoring the blanching Spike. "I'm going to get some answers. The sooner you answer my questions, the sooner I'll let you go."

"What do you want to know?" Spike asked, sighing, after several moments when it became clear that Buffy wasn't going to give into her sister. Dawn grinned at him, ignoring the fuming Slayer now cursing fluently under her breath.

"When did this whole – thing – with you guys start?" she asked, leaning back and regarding Spike with what he would almost call a scholarly interest if he couldn't see the gleam in little bit's eyes.

"About a month after your sis got back from – you know," Spike replied, unable to bring himself to say the words 'the dead'.

"Why?" Dawn asked.

"I love her," Spike replied, shrugging. Dawn already knew that answer. She turned to Buffy, one eyebrow raised. Buffy glared back at her, refusing to speak.

"If it comes to a test of wills, I'll win," Dawn said, her voice not bragging but factual. "You're going to get cold, not to mention sore. So just save yourself the trouble and answer the question."

Buffy just glared at her some more. Dawn shrugged, settling more comfortably into her chair, her eyes shifting between Spike and Buffy. Finally the Slayer's patience gave out.

"Fine!" she yelled, clearly seething at the indignity of the situation. "I come here because he helps me feel."

"What does he make you feel?" Dawn asked, not stopping to gloat on beating her stubborn sister at a battle of wills. Buffy may have been stubborn, but Dawn was tenacious. She'd hang onto something for the rest of eternity if she had to.

"Alive," Buffy said, her voice resigned now, the fight going out of her. "He makes me feel like I'm alive again."

"Are you guys dating?" Dawn asked, focusing on her sister. She knew that Buffy was the one calling the shots in this area of things. Spike would have been more than happy to yell from the rooftops that he was shagging the Slayer and she liked it.

"No," Buffy said quickly, shaking her head. "I don't love him. It's just… something I need. You wouldn't understand."

That was the wrong thing to say. Dawn raised one eyebrow again, the look on her face eerily similar to the expressions of the blond vampire sitting naked in the bed across from her.

"Oh really?" Dawn asked, her voice waspish. "Well, let me see if I can sum this up: you are having rough, kinky sex (don't think I didn't notice the bite marks) with a soulless vampire (no offense Spike) because you feel depressed due to the fact that your best friends yanked you out of Heaven, you have to play the mom of a pain in the ass little sister, you have to work at a miserable burger joint because we're swimming in debt, and to top it off your friends still expect you to save the world. How'd I do?"

Buffy, momentarily stunned into speechlessness, stared at her sister, who stared defiantly back. Spike chuckled to himself. Little bit wasn't an idiot. She knew how things stood. She wasn't as oblivious as she pretended to be.

"That's about right," Buffy replied, her voice surprisingly small. Dawn stared at her for a moment, her face unreadable. Then she shrugged.

"Makes sense to me," she said, tossing the keys to Spike and turning her back. Spike unlocked Buffy and they quickly got dressed, trying very hard not to look at the teenager patiently facing the wall. After asking if they were decent, she turned around.

"I've got a question for you, niblet," Spike said, glowering at the younger girl, who looked innocently back at him. "What the bloody hell were you doing coming into my crypt in the middle of the day?"

"I made you some cookies," Dawn said, picking up the brown paper bag and tossing it to him.

"You made him cookies?" Buffy asked, completely floored by this.

"Well, he doesn't come around very much anymore," she said, shrugging. "I know why now. You guys are worried your obvious sexual tension and attraction will show. Makes sense. But I figured I'd bring him some cookies. He's part of the family, after all."

Neither Spike nor Buffy knew what to say to this. Buffy threw up her hands and left, hurrying up the stairs as quickly as she could. Dawn stayed, looking at Spike.

"That's for the cookies, niblet," he said gruffly, more moved by her statement then he would care to admit. Dawn smiled at him, really smiled at him.

"It's true," she said, walking over and giving the surprised vampire a tight hug. "You're like a brother to me, Spike. I love you and, no matter what others may say, you're part of this family. I know how much you love Buffy. And, as amazing as it seems, I think she cares about you too. She just doesn't want to acknowledge it. But I'm so glad that you're here for her, just like you were there for me when I needed someone to lean on. Thank you."

Spike dropped the back of cookies and wrapped his arms around the younger girl, blinking rapidly as he forced back the tears pricking at his eyes. Giving Dawn a kiss on the top of the head, Spike pulled back and looked at the fierce teen.

"I'll always look out for you," he said, taking her face in his hands and gently kissing her forehead. "Both of you. I promise. I love you Summers women, and nothing will ever change that."

Dawn smiled at him and kissed the vampire gently on the cheek before turning away. Spike watched her follow her sister up out of his crypt before falling back against his rumpled bed and letting out a whoosh of breath. What a day it had been. And he had the feeling that the week was only going to get crazier.