Buffy began her third sweep of the cemetery.
Any other night, two sweeps would do. She’d only given the other cemeteries the once-over. Didn’t even see any newly-risen vamps. Which wouldn’t have been much of a problem. Newbies almost always dusted easy.
Dust to dust, she thought. Fresh out of the grave, you don’t have so much fight in you. Or much of anything else.
She couldn’t say why, but this cemetery felt different. Just walking through it gave her the willies.
Evil doings aplenty, her tummy insisted. That’s why I’m sweeping it one more time. Definitely not because Spike lives here.
It’s not like I miss him. A lot.
“Nope. Just looking for that evil,” she said out loud. She glanced down at her very unused stake. “Who am I kidding? There’s no big evil here.” No Big Bad either.
The last time she saw Spike -
She slammed him up against the wall and tore open his shirt.
“I told you … Stop trying to see me.”
His expression shifted from shock to disbelief, to comprehension, passion, and finally, love.
She could see it all. But, he couldn’t see her…couldn’t see the nothing in her eyes. Couldn’t get all hurt when her eyes didn’t change for him, the way his did for her.
It made her giddy with control and relief. And somehow, strangely, it made it okay for her to feel…something,
She still had him pinned against the wall. He tried to pull at her clothes, but she batted his hands away.
We’re doing this my way, she thought. It’s my show.
She began to play with him. She nipped and licked along his throat, his jawline, his earlobe.
He moaned, and his eyes clouded with lust. He arched his pelvis against her..
She felt that wonderful aching need shoot upward from her groin. “Oh god.”
He smiled. Oh, he knew the effect he had on her. She felt his fingers tracing lightly, lightly down along her body, teasing her throat, her breast, down, down. Finally, he pressed his hand between her legs.
“Again,” she breathed.
Make me feel it. Make me feel. Again.
“Oh god.” She screamed it this time.
She became lips and hands, and his hands, and ache.
Oh my god… oh my god… I hate you…I love it … I hate how you make me love it.
She threw him across the room
He picked himself up, wary now. “Where are you, love? What’s this, a spell?” He looked all around, but not to see her, she realized… to sense her.
From prey to predator, just like that. She paused, for a moment, fascinated.
No. That wouldn’t do. Before he could track her, she threw herself into him, backing him up several steps.
“That’s it pet,” he grinned. “Give it me. Hurt me good.”
“Stop talking.” She shoved him onto the floor and dropped down on his crotch with all her weight.
“Ouff…Risky move,” he laughed. “
“Shut me up.”
She writhed against him. Then leaned over him and bit his lips, brushing her breasts along his chest.
“Yeah, more,” he said. “Don’t stop.”
She couldn’t stop.
She pulled at his jeans, then hers, then they both pushed and pulled and struggled … knees and denim and ankles colliding faster and hungrier. They got rid of the last of the barriers. He tried to pull her onto him.
“Not yet,” she said. She put his hand on her pussy. “Play with me… make me want it.”
“My pleasure,” he smiled.
Her touched his fingers to her, stroking her gently at first. She moaned, and he gradually quickened his pace. “Like that?” he asked, his voice soft, cool. “
Yes,” she demanded. “More.”
His hands pulsed faster…faster. She grabbed his cock and matched his tempo with her strokes. Faster…faster.
“You ready for me, pet?” his voice strangled now.
She plunged herself onto him and lost herself in him. It was so, so good, she thought. Not here. I’m not here. Her thoughts became rhythm. I’m not here. I’m not here. I’m not … Here. I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. I’m coming. Here.
A near-collision with a headstone brought Buffy back to the present. She sighed. Back to patrolling. Slow, boring, no-vamp-in-sight patrolling.
“This place is deader than a…. Oh. Right.”
Time to give up the ghost, she thought. And, learn some not-so-totally-obvious metaphors. Because really, was it even a metaphor if it -
Her thoughts were interrupted by a faint noise. She tilted her head and listened, wondering if she had really heard something, or just imagined it.
There it was again. A voice. Coming from somewhere on the other side of the nearby hedgerow.
She stood quite still, and focused, and caught a single word.
Okay. Must be teens. Only the ragingly hormonal could think “romantic picnic” in a Sunnydale cemetery.
But, then wouldn’t it be, “Pizza.” Or “Big Gulp”?
“Big Gulp.” Oh boy. That led to vamp thoughts. But that didn’t fit with Camembert either. She only knew one vamp who ate food, and his taste was way downmarket from smelly cheese.
She crept closer.
“Come on pet.”
Aha. Not smelly cheese.
Then, “Come on. Here kitty, kitty, kitty.”
Suddenly, the words made sense. Especially, when she put them together with the speaker, whose voice, now she heard it clearly, was achingly familiar.
Spike. Of course. If it was weird, it had to be Spike.
Goddamned prancing cats, he thought, not for the first time that night.
That’s what they were when all was said done.
Might be all kitteny-soft and delectable now. All nubile and inviting. You stroke them… they purr … writhe around on their backsides …beg you to stroke them more.
But, when those bitches grew up? Cats! Potential’s always there, lurking, waiting to spring at you -
Something sprang at him. “What the fuck?” he thought. Then he knew. There was no mistaking her scent, her feel, her tongue scorching his neck. “Buffy?”
The first round was brutal, fast. That was how their bouts always started. He’d come to expect that.
He hadn’t expected invisibility.
Still, it had its moments. Added a little spice to their games. Hide and seek? Whole new meaning. And watching while a belt tied your wrists all on its own? Also a first.
But beyond the novelty, the gimmickry, there was the wonder.
Watching your hand cup … nothing, while it registered the softness of her breast. Reaching inside her cunny, feeling the velvety wetness while seeing your fingers thrust in mid-air. It fascinated him.
During their all-too-rare tender bouts, he marvelled at how giving pleasure to this woman who he couldn’t even see, but who was everything to him… how doing nothing more than giving her pleasure could so deeply move him.
And the way they kissed when they were… loving. Not their usual rough, devouring kisses. But, slow, deep, shared.
In the moments of climax, he was able, briefly, to persuade himself…. She loves me. She loves me. Oh god. Yes. She loves me…
Of course, the spell was broken when that idiot Harris walked in on them. And, once it was broken, it was well and truly broken. He couldn’t imagine her here with him any more. Not really here. She was gone, he realized. Even while she made love to him, she was not really here.
“Get out,” he told her. “Just go.”
He was done playing bitch.
That’s when he felt her mouth envelope his cock.
“Hey. That’s cheating,” he snapped
She withdrew. “You want me to stop?” she purred. He couldn’t see her smirk, but he could hear it.
“That’s what I said, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, I’m - ”
She suddenly took him in her mouth again, and sucked him deep into her throat.
He watched. And while he was still capable of thought, he realized that not even Dru, his goddess of pleasure and pain, could offer such a perfect mingling of humiliation and delight. Then he thought how erotic it was to actually see your own cock getting sucked off. Then he stopped thinking.
Love’s bitch. First, last, always.
Spike shook his head and refocused. Stop thinking about her, for god’s sake. Business to attend to. Kitten-retrieval business, by all that was ludicrous.
He’d quit playing kitten poker after the Randy fiasco. Stupid game was more trouble than it was worth. Shylocks with sushi breath, not to mention her holiness, Buffy, patron saint of pussies.
“Brilliant,” he snorted. “Buffy and pussy in the same sentence. That’ll stop me thinking of her.”
Right, then. Back to the pussy in tonight’s disappearing act.
The wretched beast had escaped his crypt, he knew not how, and led him a merry chase round the whole cemetery. He couldn’t afford to let it go. It was purebred Himalayan. Worth at least 20 garden-variety tabbies. That would put paid to what was left of his debt.
He finally caught up to the kitten at the foot of an old oak. He scooped the white furball up by its scruff, looked it in the face, and met a pair of eyes as glacially blue as his own.
“Stupid pratt,” he glared at it.
The kitten hissed and spat.
“Oh yeah? Oh yeah?” That tore it. Bloody kitten taking him on. Him!
“Well .. two can play,” he glowered.
Spike morphed into game face, and the kitten howled.
“Hyeah,” he jeered, fairly dancing with adrenalin and glee. “Not so brave now, are we? Wonder how you taste, all that juicy fear pumping through you, huh?”
The kitten howled even more pathetically.
Spike looked triumphant for one brief shining moment. Then he deflated utterly. His face crumpled to human proportions.
It’s come to this, then, he thought. All puffed up because I scared a cat. A baby cat.
I am every inch the wanking loser.
The kitten sensed its opening and slapped at Spike’s lips with its claws.
He loosed his grip. The kitten leapt out of his hand and raced up the tree.
Twenty tabbies, he reminded himself. He forced down his rage, started the count to 10 and actually made eight, which for him was a rare show of patience.
Spike put on the most treacley voice he could muster.
“You didn’t take that seriously, now, did you?” he crooned. “Just a bit of fun between mates.”
The kitten looked down at him with what he could swear was contempt.
“Come on pet,” he said. “Come on. Here kitty, kitty, kitty.”
The kitten didn’t budge.
He sighed, exasperated, then giving in to necessity, scrambled up the tree after it in a swirl of leather.
He lunged at the kitten, but missed as it jumped to the next limb. He climbed after it. But, each time, no matter how close he got, it managed to tiptoe away, leaving him flailing in mid-air like some deranged mime on speed.
Finally, the kitten found safety on a slender bough far beyond his reach. Satisfied with its perch, it settled in and gazed quizzically at the frantic goings-on of this completely lunatic vamp.
It’s playing cat and mouse with me, Spike thought. And I’m the bleeding mouse. This night couldn’t get worse.
At that moment, Buffy crash through the hedge.
Oh god, he thought. Perfect. Just perfect.
Well. Bright side. She doesn’t know I’m here chasing pussy… cat … kit.. Fuck. Right. I’ll be spared that indignity, at least.
“Spike, I know you’re here, somewhere.”
“Well, yeah. I am,” he called down. Brilliant stall, mate.
She looked up in the direction of the voice. “As much as I enjoy the witty banter, Mr. Seinfeld…”
“…it doesn’t really explain why you’re up a tree.” Just let him try to talk his way out of this one. The evil kitten-pimp. This should be good.
Christ, he thought, how am I gonna talk my way out of this one? She already thinks I’m an evil kitten-pimp. Better make this good.
“Tree demons,” he announced, then cringed. Oh god, did I really say that aloud?
“Tree demons?” Buffy oozed scepticism. He thinks I’m buying this?
“Little-known, I grant you. But dangerous. Infestation is what it is. Cemetery’s full of them.”
“It’s full of something,” she muttered. Evil kitten-chasing liar. He said he quit…. Oh, god. What if he’s not just gambling with them but eating…! Ew. He kisses me with that mouth.
I’ll string him along, she decided. Give him so much rope he’ll be all knotty… After all, there were times when she liked him naughty. Naughty Spike, all tied up in silk ropes. Mmm. No! No knots. No naughty. Kitten! Think kitten.
She collected herself. “Infestation, huh. Then why haven’t I seen any?”
“Well… It’s the camouflage. When they hide, they come over all… bark-like.”
“Which, let me guess, is worse than their bi -”
The kitten chose that moment to pounce on Spike’s head.
“Hey! That hurt,” he bellowed.
Oh god, she’ll see it now. He watched her look up and prayed the darkness would hide the white fur.
Buffy strained to see what had set him off. All she could make out was a glint of leather and a flash of that familiar white hair, all fluffy…wait. Was there a hair gel shortage she hadn't heard about?
“Guess their bite is worse than I thought,” she said. So now, he’s faking a demon attack? How pathetic is that.
Meanwhile, the hissing kitten heaved all of its oddly substantial might into clawing at Spike’s head.
“Ow. Stop.” He tried to grab it and it bit down on his hands. “Jesus! Hell! Get off me, you stupid git!”
Buffy stared as Spike flapped his arms around his head at … nothing. He looks kinda like he’s swatting away at a hive of bees, she thought, caught up in the spectacle. Performance art, hellmouth style? Hey. Maybe he’s finally gone insane.
Or maybe… it couldn’t be true, could it? Invisible tree demons?
Just then, the kitten let loose an enormous, “Meowwww.”
“Meow?” Buffy repeated. He does have a kitten up there. I’ll kill him. I. Will. Kill. Him.
Spike made a desperate grab and finally managed to snatch the damned cat. He disentangled it from his hair and stuffed it into his duster’s inside breast-pocket, clamping his fist round its jaws to stop it meowing again.
“Not ‘meow’,” he said. “‘Me…. Ow.’ Demon bit me, and all you can do is make animal sounds. Not very supportive, Slayer.”
“You’re right.” Lying creep.
“I am? … Right. I am.” Hey. She’s buying it!
“It’s time I took up my slayerly duties.” Should have slayed his … duties a gazillion years ago.
Buffy scouted around and grabbed a handful of large stones. “Where’s the evil tree demon now?” she asked.
“Where…? Er…” Spike made a show of looking about for it, staring up into the treetop, then at the limbs all around. “Yes! There.” He pointed to a spot about two feet to his left.
Buffy lobbed a stone straight at Spike. Bulls-eye. Damn, I’m good.
“Hey!” he protested. “What’s that all about? Why are you chucking rocks at me?”
“Oops,” she said. “My bad.”
“Who taught you to throw, Ray Charles?”
“Aw. Did that hurt?” she asked in her most innocent voice. “Did I hit Spikey by mistake?”
“Mistake, my eye,” he said. Right, then. Maybe she’s not buying it.
“It’s crying time again, Spikey.” She threw another stone. Direct hit.
“Yowch! You’re skating on thin ice, missy.” Calm down, Spike. You’re still one of the good guys for all she knows. I bloody well hope. He continued, “And why you’d want to attack someone who’s trying to help you - ”
“Whatcha gonna do, tree-demon slayer? Climb me to death?” Her eyes popped open, horrified. Did I really say that?
He flashed a thousand-kilowatt smile. “Could give it a go.”
“No go!.. ing. Going, ” she blushed.. “And no climbing.” She glanced at her hand and smiled. “Yes stoning.”
“Hey! Twenty-first century here,” he shouted. “Not middle fucking ages.”
She hefted a particularly large stone, and went into her wind-up. “Look out tree demon. Here comes Buffy.”
“No, wait!” he screeched. “Enough. I’m coming down.”
She relaxed. “Okey doke.”
Spike leapt from his perch in a single elegant whoosh and landed softly at her feet. The way he moved took her breath away. Bad Buffy. Stop. Now.
“So, where’s the demon now?” He still gonna play ‘ pin the blame on the demon?’
“Um.” He peered up into the green-black canopy of boughs, his brow furrowed as if deep in concentration. “There! - No. There - … Well, blast. Blast? It’s gone now. Got clean away.”
She just stood there, arms folded over her chest, narrowing her eyes at him.
Get out while you’re still ahead, he thought. Or, at least, while you’ve still got a head. “I’ll say goodnight now, Slayer.” He turned to go.
Shite. He turned back. “Yes?”
“Don’t you want to tell me something first?”
He tilted his head in confusion. “Um? Right! You scared off the demon. Saved my sorry ass. Many thanks. Bye.” Thank god, that’s done.
He turned again to go. Which the kitten took as a call to action. It converted Spike’s pocket into a kickboxing studio, then screamed at the top of its tiny lungs, “Meowww!”
“Me…Ow!” Spike covered desperately.
Oh, crap, he thought, remembering that the tree demon had supposedly vanished, giving him no excuse to make kitten sounds. This is a nightmare. If she thinks I’m still playing for puss- kittens, she’ll never let me touch her again. And that’s after she kills me.
“Spike.” Suddenly she was right there, putting a hand up to the pounding bulge on the left side of his chest.
He felt slightly dizzy, the way he always felt when she drew near. “Yeah,” he whispered.
“When’d ya get the breast implant?”
His eyes popped open and he reared back, staring at her.
“But, why’d you only do the left one? Some perverto vamp ritual? ‘Cause if it’s a lifestyle choice, boy, am I embarrassed. Never figured you for trans, but hey, open-minded.”
Why doesn’t she just get to the point? Oh, right. She hasn’t finished the torture.
“Silver lining? At least they gave you a heartbeat,” she offered, as the kitten continued to palpitate visibly.
Spike issued a long-suffering sigh, then sucked in his cheeks and pushed out his lips in a stifled grin. He reached into his duster and withdrew the now crazed and yowling kitten.
“Shut up, you,” he growled at the kitten. Surprisingly, it did.
“Well. I’m busted,” he said, giving her a dazzling grin. Might as well relish the evil.
Buffy moved as if to grab the kitten. Spike hiked his arm up out of reach.
“Let it go,” she snapped.
“Forget it. Do you know how valuable this furball is? Himalayans are rarer than hens’ teeth.”
“I don’t care, I - wait, please tell me that’s just an expression, and you’re not playing for barnyard animals now.”
His grin broadened. “Picturing cock fights, are we?” He slid towards her all sinew and rhythm. “All them cocks,” he drew the last word out and bit his lower lip seductively. “Excited… Jumping about… Throbbing with anticipation.”
It wasn’t her anger that upset her. No, it was her growing excitement. “Stop it,” she shrilled. “I will have no cocks.” She turned crimson. “Fighting … cocks fighting. Fighting of cocks. None.”
“All right, love. How do you like ‘em, then?”
How did he suddenly get the upper hand? She was furious.
“Shut me up.”
“You said you didn’t want me if you couldn’t have all of me. Change your mind, integrity-boy? Or isn’t the tree demon the only one whose bark is worse than - ”
He grabbed her to him and kissed her.
She pulled away. “I don’t want…”
“What?” he whispered, stroking her face gently with his fingertips. He looked into her eyes, for something, anything.
“You,” she said. “Don’t want you.” She turned her eyes away from his gaze, but let him go on stroking her face. Then, still looking away, she took his hand in hers, and gently kissed his palm. “You,” she moaned, softly. “I want you.”
“I know, love.” He turned her head so she had to face him. He looked into her eyes. He saw … something. Not love, but something.
They let their bodies drop to the grass as they kissed.
She pulled back from him. “This doesn’t change anything.”
“No,” he said.
And then they lost the parts of themselves they could still afford to lose.
Meanwhile, the escaped and now forgotten Himalayan kitten paused by a large stone angel, looking back. Moonlight, or shadow, a trick of the light…a Cheshire grin flashed briefly, and then with a shimmer, it was gone.
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