A Long, Strange Journey

Angel had been alone with Buffy for an hour now. Spike didn’t like it. He kept imagining all sorts of things: tears and sex chief among them. He couldn’t quite remember why they had decided to do it like this. After all, they’d come to Rome together. Walking the streets gave Spike a terrific headache, what with the constant and pervasive smell of garlic lingering around every corner, in every hall and alley.

They’d even flipped a freakin’ coin to see who would go first. It hardly seemed fair that Angel won the toss. Hadn’t Spike sacrificed himself for her? Bloody hell.

Spike patted his coat pocket for his smokes and then reached in and pulled out the crumpled pack. If this kept up, he’d need another pack. Pronto. He pulled out his Zippo and lit the cigarette and sucked in a lungful of chemicals and tar. Now that’s what he’s talking about. Okay, sure, technically he couldn’t actually taste the cigarette- but Spike had total recall; he could remember the tang and burn and it filled him with simple joy.

What in blazing hell could they be doing in there?

Spike slid down the wall and dropped a wrist over his tented knees. Just a few short hours ago, he and Angel had been watching Buffy from across a crowded club. That should have been it. She was alive (both he and Angel had agreed that there was no point going on if Buffy wasn’t safely in the world and yes, it was true, they were both fucking drama queens); she was healthy and whole and so flamin’ beautiful Spike (and Angel beside him) had stilled and watched, anticipating the moment when she would, sensing him (them) turn and meet his (their) eyes.

She hadn’t turned. She’d danced. She’d twirled and laughed and flung out her arms and bared her belly and lived a whole life in the time it took for KC to “Get Down On It.”

*

“We should go,” Angel said.

“What?”

“We should go.”

Spike had looked over at Angel. “Go if you want,” he said. “But I didn’t fly half way across the flamin’ world to not at least talk to her.”

Angel’s eyes narrowed. “You see her, right?”

“I see her,” Spike replied.

“Well then you see she’s over us.”

“Her closure is not my closure,” Spike said. “Besides, she’s probably drunk and doesn’t realize we’re here. If she knew we were here…”

“What,” Angel interrupted. “She’d throw out the welcome mat? You’re an idiot, Spike. Look at her. She’s happy. She’s free. That’s what we wanted for her. And that’s only part of it. Have you ever tried rescuing Buffy?”

Spike pursed his lips thoughtfully.

“You might recall, then, that’s she’s not exactly a damsel in distress.”

“Okay, whatever, she doesn’t need rescuing; but that’s not the point.”

Angel smiled indulgently. “That’s why we came.”

“Well,” Spike sniffed, “maybe that’s why you came, but there was subtext for me.”

Angel laughed.

“You’re really going to let her sail off into the sunset with that ponce?” Spike asked.

Angel shrugged. “I love her.”

“So do I,” Spike said miserably.

*

The smart thing to do, of course, was get drunk. Angel remembered a little demon tratattoria where they served a little O positive on the side. It was still there and he and Spike ordered a bottle of Jack and a couple chasers of the other. Both tasted mighty fine.

“What were we thinking?” Spike asked a third of the way through the bottle.

“I’m assuming that’s a rhetorical question,” Angel replied, refilling both their glasses and signaling to the bartender for another round of blood.

“Only slightly rhetorical. I mean, why did we come all this way if we’re just going to let him have her?”

“I don’t think he has anything Buffy doesn’t want him to have,” Angel said, tossing back the shot glass of blood.

Spike grimaced. “That doesn’t make any of this more palatable.” He tipped another glass of Jack down his throat and leaned closer to Angel. “You know what he’s doin’ to her, don’t you? I mean, you do remember Darla and Dru.” Spike actually felt his eyes water a little at the mention of Drusilla’s name.

Or perhaps it was just the liquor talking.

“Maybe they’re just friends,” Angel said reasonably.

Spike snorted loudly. A couple Chaos demons a few booths down turned to stare in their direction. “Friends my arse,” Spike said. “The Immortal doesn’t have friends. He has conquests.” Spike arched an eyebrow at Angel. “’sides, when did you get all philosophical when it comes to Buffy and her relationships?”

“Not philosophical, Spike, pragmatic.”

Spike settled back against the leather booth and crossed his arms. “Right. You’ve always been incredibly practical when it comes to Buffy. That girl brings out the sensible in all of us.”

Angel’s mouth twitched. “I see what you mean. Let’s go.”

That’s how Spike came to be sitting on the floor in the hall outside Buffy’s apartment. The whole way over from the bar they’d argued about who would get first crack at convincing her that fraternizing with The Immortal was insane. Spike thought he’d be better at it because he was more eloquent, you know, because of his former career as a poet. Angel nearly busted a gut laughing at that.

In the end, Angel won. It seemed to Spike that he always did.

*

“So, you came all the way to Italy to tell me that T.I. is a no-good scoundrel, is that it?” Buffy said.

“Okay, when you put it like that…” Angel paused. “T.I.?”

“The Immortal is pretentious, don’t you think?

Angel shrugged.

“And does Spike feel the same way?”

“Do you really need to ask that question?”

Buffy smiled. “No. I guess not.”

Angel crossed the room and sat next to Buffy on the settee, not too close, though.

“The thing is - we know him. We’ve had dealings with him.”

“I think the dealings, as you so delicately put it, were actually with Dru and Darla, weren’t they?” Buffy’s face was perfectly serene.

Angel was less successful with his expression. He felt each knuckle of his spine snap into place.

“You don’t know him like I do,” Angel said. “People don’t change.”

“Don’t they?” Buffy tucked a strand of her longer, blonder hair behind her ear and sighed. “In my experience which, granted, doesn’t compare to your centuries of living, people do change. All the time.”

“We’re not talking about me,” Angel said.

“I wasn’t, actually,” Buffy replied.

“Oh,” Angel said. “Oh.”

Buffy rested her hand on Angel’s knee. He felt the heat of her small palm travel up to his groin, lodge in his belly and the hard knots in his spine, which only moments ago had held him rigid, began to melt.

“Do you have any idea how much I loved you?” She whispered.

Angel was careful to keep his face neutral at Buffy’s use of the past tense. Loved. As in no longer. Apparently it was a literal question; her face was expectant.

“I know I hurt you, Buffy,” he said.

Buffy lifted her hand from Angel’s knee and pressed her fingers against his lips, effectively preventing him from continuing.

“I neither need nor want an apology from you, Angel. The other thing I don’t need or want is your protection.” Buffy’s fingers drifted away from Angel’s mouth and for a second he mourned the loss of their warmth. “You can’t keep blowing back into my life whenever there’s a new guy on the scene. I’m young; there’s gonna be a lot of new guys.”

Angel grimaced. A lot. Great.

“You can hardly take offense, Angel. I mean you’ve had a lot of lovers, right?”

Was she teasing? Surely, she was teasing.

“I mean,” Buffy continued, “I can name a handful right off the top of my head: Darla, Drusilla, Cordy, that werewolf, what was her name…”

“Stop,” Angel said. He stood up and crossed the room. “I get it. Your life isn’t my business. Point taken.”

Buffy smiled. “So we’re on the same page?”

“Yeah.”

“Great. Send in Spike.”

*

Spike didn’t like the look on Angel’s face when he came out of Buffy’s apartment. He wasn’t sure what he’d expected: a post-coital flush or white-faced grief. Instead, Angel looked stoic, closed off. Wait, that’s how Angel always looked.

“She’s ready for you,” Angel said.

“Is she okay?”

Angel scratched at his jaw. “Do you have any smokes?”

Spike looked at Buffy’s apartment door and reached into his pocket for the last of his cigarettes. He handed Angel the crumpled package. Surely this wasn’t good.

*

“Spike.”

Buffy was waiting for him. She sat on the couch with her feet tucked under her, a glass of red wine balanced on her folded knee.

“Wine?”

Spike thought of the Jack Daniels and said: “Sure.”

Buffy nodded towards the bottle and the glass: just one other glass, clean, so Angel hadn’t been given the same offer. Spike took that as a good sign.

He poured himself a healthy measure and moved to sit down on the couch. (Not too close.)

“So, how are you, pet?”

Buffy giggled. “You’re kidding, right?”

“I don’t understand.”

“You flew all the way across the world to ask me how I am?”

“Not exactly.”

“You know, there are phones and e-mails these days. So much more efficient, especially for someone with your challenges.”

Challenges?

“Buffy, I…”

“Let’s cut to the chase, why don’t we?”

Spike thought it wise to stay silent.

“I - am - an - adult.” The words left Buffy’s mouth like bbs from a gun. “I can go where I want and do what I want and, frankly, fuck whom I want…not that that’s any of your business.”

The least Angel could have done was soften her up, deflate the obvious balloon of her anger. Still, the flame of colour on her cheeks, the snap-crackle of electricity coming from her skin reached out to Spike and licked him, a tongue of desire. He felt it, a tantalizing hum that sped through his lifeless blood.

Did he dare touch her? He wanted to, desperately. She was looking at him, her eyes dark and dangerous. It had been a long time since he’d seen that look in her eyes. Since before he’d gone up in a blaze of what he’d hoped would be glory, but what had turned out to be just a blaze. Bloody amulet.

Now she’d set her glass down and was turned towards him, relieving him of his glass and was she, no she wasn’t…

Yes she was!

Spike watched, mesmerized, as Buffy started to slip the buttons of her green shirt from their holes. In seconds, her shirt was in a demure pile on the floor and Buffy’s pale, silky skin was exposed, her nipples poking provocatively through the gauzy material of her bra.

Spike blinked and tried to reign in his thoughts. He couldn’t smell Angel on her, but the possibility that she might actually let him touch her before Angel- well it was obviously a trick. Had the BuffyBot somehow been replicated?

Spike stood up and backed away from her. It.

“What have you done with Buffy?”

Buffy reached to the clasp at the front of her bra and slipped it open. Spike’s cock twitched gratefully as Buffy’s breasts, (smaller than Spike remembered, but every bit as lovely), were fully exposed.

Spike’s tongue worked against the roof of his dry mouth. How likely was it, he wondered, that he could adjust his raging hard-on without Buffy noticing.

“I could help with that,” she said coyly.

Apparently, not bloody likely.

*

If this girl was the BuffyBot, there had been some marked improvements. For one thing, when Spike slipped his tongue deep into the moist mink of her quim, the taste and smell of her was so intoxicating, Spike had to pause for a moment lest he pass out (figuratively speaking) from sheer joy. It was one thing to fuck a vampire; quite another to fuck a real girl and something quite extraordinary indeed to fuck a Slayer.

Buffy’s slim hips tilted up to meet him and Spike sank his mouth into her like she was a peach; he had every intention of eating her until her juice was slick against his chin and sticky on his fingers. He could barely contain himself; his cock was a steel pipe. Spike slid his hands under Buffy’s perfect ass and pulled her closer, tunneled deeper with his tongue. This was no robot beneath him; his mouth met organic, earthy nectar and soon enough he could feel the deep down vibrations of her orgasm quivering against his tongue.

Buffy came hard. Her back arched up off the floor. Spike couldn’t remember the last time he’d wanted anything as badly as he wanted Buffy. He turned his head to one side, and rubbed his wet mouth against his shoulder.

“Wow,” Buffy sighed.

“Bloody, right,” Spike said. “And that’s just for starters.”

Buffy shimmied away from Spike and propped herself up on her elbows.

“Do you think Angel is still outside?”

Spike shrugged. He reached out with a long forefinger and stroked the bare, plump lips of Buffy’s sex.

“Go see,” she commanded.

*

Spike could barely walk; his cock was a massive weight in his jeans. His reluctance to poke his head out into the hall was slightly more complicated by the fact that Angel would smell Buffy’s come in a nanosecond and Spike would likely end up with a split lip or broken nose. It was all well and good to say that they were in this rescue mission together (the term now seemed completely ridiculous since Buffy was clearly in no need of rescuing) and quite another to pretend that either of them had anything but their own selfish interests at heart.

He paused at the door that led to the hall wondering if there was anyway to defend himself.

“Angel,” he said. “Before you hit me, I should explain.”

He pulled the door open a crack; the hall looked empty. Had the blighter left? Spike pulled the door open wider and stepped out into the hall. Angel’s fist connected with his cheekbone: a freight train of power.

“You fucked her?” Angel said incredulously, cocking his fist again.

Spike righted himself and held up his hands defensively.

“She was all over me like flies on shit,”

“You’ve got the comparison partly right anyway,” Angel said.

“I think she might be the Bot,” Spike said.

“The what?”

“Robot. Long story.”

Angel took in a visible breath. “There’s no way a Robot smells like that!”

“Okay, right.” Spike closed his eyes and remembered Buffy’s muscles spasming against his tongue. “Clearly human.”

“Stop thinking about her,” Angel said.

“She came on to me, mate!” Spike declared haughtily. “Now I’ve got this.” He gestured to the lump in his crotch.

“Serves you right,” Angel said.

“She wants you anyway.”

“What do you mean?” Angel said.

“She asked me to see if you were still out here. I guess she wants you.”

Angel straightened up noticeably.

“Couldn’t finish what you started?”

“Oh I finished just fine, Peaches,” Spike said.

Angel smirked and glanced down at Spike’s crotch. “Really?”

“Really, really,” Spike said.

*

Buffy was in the shower. Angel could smell the scented steam wafting from the bathroom door: vanilla and citrus, smells that were both incredibly familiar and tantalizingly sexual.

Angel stood in the living room and wondered what he should do. Christ! When had he gotten to be so damned indecisive?

“Are you coming in here?”

Angel took a tentative step towards the bathroom.

“Come on, Angel,” Buffy said. “There isn’t an endless supply of hot water in this building.”

It only took Angel three steps and six seconds to get naked and pull the sliding glass door of the shower back and join Buffy under the hot jet of water.

“I thought…” he said.

Buffy wrapped a soapy hand around Angel’s stiffening cock.

"What,” she said. “What did you think?”

“You said…”

Buffy’s hand began a slow, steady rhythm.

“What did I say?”

“Life. Yours. Jesus.”

Angel’s head flew back and he groaned. His ejaculate went the way of the hot, soapy water.

“Better?” Buffy said.

“I don’t understand.”

Buffy smiled.

“Now,” she said, reaching down to shut off the water. “There’s just that little problem of Spike’s dick.”

*

Buffy stretched out naked on the virginal white sheets of her bed. Angel stood, a towel slung low on his hips, on one side of the bed; Spike stood, still dressed, still in sexual agony, on the other.

“How are we going to do this?” Buffy asked.

“Do…” Angel said.

“What?” Spike finished.

“This,” Buffy said. She lifted a finger and played connect the dots in the air. “Us.”

Angel met Spike’s eyes across the bed.

“What about,” Angel paused, “T.I.?”

“What about him?”

“Isn’t he your…”

“Boyfriend,” Spike finished.

“You guys really are a team,” Buffy said. “As it turns out, that actually works out okay. And for the record, T.I. isn’t my boyfriend.” She giggled. “I don’t think you could actually call him a boy anything.”

“Buffy, this is…”

“Ridiculous,” Spike finished.

“It’ll be less ridiculous once you’re naked,” Buffy said. “Trust me.”

*

She wasn’t a robot: that much was clear. But she wasn’t exactly Buffy either; at least she wasn’t the Buffy they’d said good bye to all those months before. Angel and Spike, voracious as they were, could barely keep up with her.

She was liquid lightning, sharp desires and molten skin, an endless unquenchable desire to be folded, devoured, pierced.

“Bite me,” she said to Spike as Angel thrust into her.

“Fuck me,” she said to Angel, as Spike’s fangs drew blood.

She had no limits.

Hours later, as the sun strained to get into the bedroom through the shuttered windows, she said: “Would you fuck each other? I want to watch.”

Her words were enough to shoot fresh desire through Spike’s languid cock. Even Angel seemed thoroughly incapable of denying her anything.

“Come here,” Angel said gruffly.

Spike was too tired to argue about who got to be on top. Buffy’s eyes were luminous; her breasts were decorated with bloody kisses; the tang of her sex permeated the room. He’d give her the moon if she asked.

Angel stood behind Spike, put his huge hand on Spike’s back and pushed him down so that he was propped on his elbows facing Buffy. Then he pushed into Spike’s arse none too gently and Spike gasped with pleasure. When he opened his eyes it was to see Buffy watching Angel’s face avidly. Apparently he was the monkey in the middle. Still, this peculiar equation was making him hard all over again.

Then she said: “Could you fuck me, while he fucks you?”

“Jesus, Slayer,” Spike managed before Buffy slid down the bed and then, surprising him yet again, she flipped over and, pulled her knees up, offering him her own sweet little behind.

Spike had to bend his knees a little and it wasn’t particularly comfortable, but he was fucking Buffy’s arse, for Christ’s sake! And was Angel working just a little bit harder back there? The light behind Spike’s eyes began to pop, fireworks that were echoed in his groin just seconds later. The muscles in his sphincter contracted around Angel’s dick and that was that. Buffy shuddered her own orgasm. They tumbled together in a ridiculous heap.

*

There was fresh blood in Buffy’s refrigerator. The Immortal wasn’t a blood drinker, that was a fact. Spike slipped a bag into the microwave and set the timer for 30 seconds. Every single inch of him ached. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been this sexually satisfied. No wait, yes he could: it was the last time he’d fucked Buffy.

And now all his dirty little secrets were out because he’d just taken it up the ass with Buffy in the same room. What next: hand cuffs? Dildos? Whips?

Spike’s cock stiffened and he returned to the bedroom, blood forgotten.

*

Buffy showered and dressed and left her apartment. It was early and the sun had not yet begun to melt the asphalt or coax the smell of shit from the ancient Roman sewers. It was her favourite time of day in Rome.

First stop – the local butcher. She put in a standing order for fresh blood to be delivered to her apartment.

Second - the sex shop. She was no blushing school girl as she chose restraints, clamps, dildos and lube.

Finally, after a quick stop for an espresso and a plate of fresh fruit and cheese, she went to see T.I.

*

He swung the doors to his pent-house apartment wide and kissed her on both cheeks.

“Hey,” she said.

“You look radiant,” he said. “Am I to gather that our plan worked?”

“Like a charm,” Buffy said. She crossed the room to the tall narrow windows. They opened out onto a balcony that wrapped around the front of the building and looked down over the square below. Throngs of tourists, anxious to beat the heat, milled through the square on their way to any number of famous Italian attractions.

“Those two,” The Immortal chuckled, “so predictable.”

“Well, you have known them a long time,” Buffy said. “I did exactly what you said and they didn’t have a clue what was going on.”

“Indeed,” he replied. “Their petty jealousies are notorious.”

“Thank you,” Buffy said. “I don’t know how I would have managed this without you.”

“You deserve your happiness, Buffy. I am surprised that you think those two capable of delivering it, but then again I have learned over many centuries that almost anything is possible.”

“They’d thank you if they knew,” Buffy said. “I mean if they knew that you helped me get them here.”

“Best we leave it as it is,” The Immortal said with a smile. “Your vampires will take a while to get used to the fact that you are no longer a damsel in need of a knight.”

Buffy smiled. “I know.”

“If you require my…services.” The Immortal paused. He took in Buffy’s flushed cheeks, her erect nipples, obvious through the soft cloth of her shirt. “No, I think you shall not.”

“Thank you,” Buffy said again.

“No,” The Immortal replied. “When you have lived as long as I have, it’s always nice to have a project to pass the time. I shall see you when I see you.”

*

Angel and Spike were sitting across from each other at Buffy’s tiny kitchen table, which they’d moved away from the window and the sunlight which streamed in through it unchecked.

“Perhaps we’ve been hallucinating,” Spike said.

“Hallucinating!” Angel said incredulously. “Are you drunk?”

“No! I’m just trying to figure out…I mean…what just happened?”

“Just happened? You mean for the past six hours?”

“You’re a ponce.”

“You’re an idiot.”

Spike leaned across the table. “She had us both,” he whispered.

“Consecutively,” Angel replied.

*

Later, the three of them naked in Buffy’s bed, she said: “You’ll have to decide what you’re going to do.”

Spike tugged at Buffy’s nipple with his fingers; Angel’s fingers were stroking the moist slit of Buffy’s sex.

“I’m actually doing what I’m going to do,” Spike said.

Buffy laughed. “Angel?” she said.

“How is this going to work, exactly?”

“How does anything work?” She asked. “It just does.” She twisted her head and her eyes met his. “I want it to, so much,” she whispered. She turned and looked at Spike. “I want it for all of us.”

“The three of us, all the time?” Angel said.

“Or any combination thereof,” Buffy said. “It’s perfect, don’t you think?”

Buffy turned on her side and snuggled closer to Angel; Spike turned and spooned against Buffy’s back.

“This is the end of the road for me,” Buffy said into Angel’s neck. “This is what I want.”

*

At dusk, Spike and Angel shared a cigarette on Buffy’s tiny balcony. The streets of Rome stretched out in front of them, a crooked map of streets that spread out like veins from a heart. And if there was a heart, it was here.

“What are we going to do about Wolfram and Hart?” Spike said.

“I don’t think I give a shit,” Angel said. “But if we had to, I guess we could handle things from here.”

“Bugger that,” Spike said, taking the cigarette from Angel and taking one last drag. He dropped the spent butt over the railing and leaned over a little to watch it float down to the street below. “You’re not gonna get all broody about this, are you?”

“I’m not broody,” Angel said.

“Yeah, right.” Spike paused. “How long will it last, d’you think?”

“Not long enough,” Angel said quietly.

“And then what?”

Angel twisted his head and rewarded Spike with one of his rare, genuine smiles.

“I guess then it’ll just be back to you and me.”

“Well, that’s all right then,” Spike said.

THE END

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