The thing about the Slayer was, Spike hated her. Hated her from the top of her perky blond head all the way down to her perky fashionable footwear. Never mind all those perky bits in-between. Nothing else explained the rush of raw emotion that zinged along his undead nerve endings whenever he thought of her. And he managed to hate her a little more with every mouthful of Old Overholt he gulped from the twenty-sixer he'd picked up from the local Liquor Barn not an hour earlier. Chip or no, he was still enough of a Big Bad to scare the pimply-faced clerk into donating a bottle for the cause. Small victories, mate.
Spike winced. Christ, he was pathetic. Holed up and licking his wounds in some crypt that smelled of formaldehyde and Harmony's hairspray, castrated by that buggering chip, nowhere to go but Sunnydale. And it was all her fault. Well, now it was time to make her suffer. He took another drink. Ding-ding went the Slayer hate-o-meter. He sped up until a human would have had a hard time keeping track of him. He could smell her, all mango body spray and sweat. He searched the rows of crumbling gravestones. Nothing yet, but he knew he was close. He had to fight to keep his vampire face at bay.
He found her strolling along, lazily passing her stake from hand to hand. Humming an ABBA song - Fernando, maybe. Fucking queen of all she surveyed. How he loathed her. He leaped into her path. "Slayer," he said like it was an accusation.
She, of course, had known he was there long before his dramatic entrance. "What do you want, Spike?" It really picked his ass how little she seemed to care about the answer.
He took one last swig of booze, then hurled the bottle against the nearest gravestone. It cracked open and hemorrhaged rye. A waste, but presentation was everything. "I'm here to kill you," he announced. "Because I hate you. So. Much."
"Wow. Really? I'm dismayed and heartbroken. But what about your chippy thing?"
He had an answer ready. "I figure if you agree to fight me, it won't be an issue. Informed consent and all that."
Buffy shrugged. "Sure. It's a slow night. Might be fun." She did a fancy flip with the stake, catching it behind her back.
His hatred grew exponentially. "It'll be fun when the blood is spilling out of your broken body!"
"O-kay. Let's see you try that, big talker."
Spike's face was already changing as he lunged at her...and missed when she side-stepped him. Then he was falling backward, her hand yanking on a fistful of his duster as her dainty foot kicked his legs out from under him. He scrambled back onto his feet, embarrassed as hell. Truth be told, it had been a while since he'd fought her. Being drunk didn't help either. Better make the next one count.
He viciously kicked her in the face with the toe of his boot - and found out in a big fat hurry that the chip was unimpressed with informed consent. He went down on his knees, clutching his head. Trying not to scream.
Buffy came out of her defensive stance. "Bummer," she said, and looked at her watch. "Well, as enjoyable as this last fifteen seconds was, I just remembered that I have to be somewhere, so..."
"No! I have to finish this! You...ask me to kill you. If you ask me, then the chip won't work."
"Ew. That's just creepy. Sorry, but your hate-on is going to have to suck it up."
Before Spike could start threatening and cursing, there was a flurry of magical energy beside them. Buffy shielded her eyes from the glare as the crackle of light formed into...what was that, anyway? A horrible legless little demon who scuttled toward them on the palms of its hands, its long serpentine tail whipping angrily behind it. "Slayer," it hissed, "prepare to die."
Buffy groaned as she glanced at her watch again.
Spike's face smoothed back to human form. "Uh, I believe I was here first, mate," Spike told it. "Wait your sodding turn."
The thing ignored him. It launched itself at Buffy, who looked none too happy about another interruption. She only got a couple of punches in, though, before Spike took hold of the demon by its armpits and yanked. Its tail sliced around Buffy's ankles, trying like mad to hang on, but Spike was not going to be ignored a second time. "Come on then, you little bugger," he grunted as he peeled the thing off her.
The demon abruptly unwound its tail from Buffy's legs and started to lash Spike's face and shoulders - at least until Spike grabbed the offending tail and wrapped it a couple of times around the thing's neck. He turned to Buffy, who was trying not to laugh right out loud. "If it weren't for the chip, this would be you," he said, and twisted the demon's head approximately 340 degrees. It collapsed in a heap at Spike's feet. "Because I hate you," he added, in case she missed the point.
Buffy was digging her cell phone out of her jeans back pocket. "Yeah, well, if it weren't for the chip, you'd be a sad little pile of Spike dust." She turned her back on him as she thumbed in a phone number. "Hello, Will? Sorry I'm late. I was attacked by a totally ugly demon."
"You better not be talking about me," Spike muttered.
Buffy stuck her finger in her free ear. "No, it was this pygmy guy with no legs. Total circus freak. I mean...limb challenged. Heh." She paused. "Really? Well, it didn't bite me or anything. Yeah, I'm sure. Should I still come meet you?" Pause. "No, if the trailers have already started...that's okay. Tell Dawn sorry. Maybe I'll just go home to bed. I'm beat. All right, talk to you tomorrow."
She tucked her phone away and stretched her hands over her head. "It's been fun as always, Spike, but I've had enough. I'm sore and cranky, and I'm going home."
"Can I walk you?" he asked. The rye was wearing off, and killing her didn't seem quite so imperative now.
They made their way to Revello Drive in silence. When you've threatened each other with death and snark, sometimes there's nothing left to say. He didn't go to the door, just stood on the sidewalk and looked up at her. "'Night," he said.
She fumbled with the key in the lock, but finally managed to get the door open and limped inside. She looked back at him. "This is my favourite part," she said, and shut the door. The porch light blinked off.
Spike stood there in the darkness beside the lilac bushes. "Oh my God, I hate her," he said to no one in particular.
Buffy tossed her cell phone and stake in the middle of the junk that grew as if by magic all over her kitchen counter, then made her way upstairs and headed straight for the bathroom. She was feeling way off - shaky, overheated, dizzy. She ran a bath, and it took all her effort to turn the taps off. She stripped as quickly as she could, leaving her clothes in a damp heap on the floor beside the toilet. She more or less fell into the steaming water, and clumsily settled herself onto her back. What the hell was wrong with her? She tried to remember what she'd had for lunch, and if undercooked chicken had been involved. It hurt her head to think. But the water was warm and soothing, and she started to feel a bit better. Her eyes soon fluttered shut, and all her worries slipped into the black.
When Buffy woke up, unknown seconds or minutes or hours later, the first thing she noticed was that she was burning up. The second thing she noticed was that she couldn't move her arms or legs. The third thing she noticed was that her ankle now had an angry red welt on it. It looked very much like a vampire bite...if the vampire only had one fang.
Oh oh. Willow's words of warning came back to her in a rush. Dangerous. Poisonous. But Willow was wrong - it was the tail, not the teeth, that she'd had to worry about. "Spike!" she screamed. "Spike! Spike! Spike!"
It took interminable minutes before she could hear him sprint onto the porch. He wrestled with the door for a moment, then there was a muffled: "You have to invite me in!"
"Come in! Hurry!"
And hurry he did - it sounded like he took the stairs three at a time. He burst into the bathroom, took one look at her lying naked in the tub, and came up against a whole other kind of barrier. He was averting his eyes well before Buffy barked, "Turn around! Turn around! Don't look!"
"What the hell is going on?" he asked the hallway floor.
"Oh God, it was the demon. His tail stung me - I'm paralyzed. It must have been poisonous."
"It must have been venomous. It's poisonous if you die when you bite it."
"Focus, you idiot! I might be dying here! You have to go get my cell phone. It's in the kitchen."
He didn't move. In fact, he leaned comfortably against the door frame. "So you're dying, eh? That's ironic."
Buffy's mouth worked for a bit before she finally said, "You can't kill me. The chip won't let you."
She watched the shoulders of his duster go up and down. "Don't have to do anything, do I? I just have to wait."
"This isn't how you want it to end, Spike. Me dying in a bathtub while you stand there not watching? Is that how you want William the Bloody to be remembered?"
Another shrug. "It'll do."
"Go get my fucking cell phone or so help me I'll come back from the fucking dead and haunt you for the rest of your miserable fucking nights!"
Spike fucking went.
"It's on the counter!" she yelled after him. Her head was throbbing, and everything looked like a Viewfinder with the disc not quite inserted right.
She listened to him as he clattered around. "Are you sure?" he finally asked.
"By the microwave! Use some of those freaking heightened vampire senses, why don't you?"
She ignored his comment about her lack of basic cleanliness. When he came back, phone in hand, his eyes stayed averted from all Slayer skin.
"Good," she said. "Now phone Willow. She's speed dial one."
He studied the phone display like it was spouting ancient Sumerian. "Um..."
"Hello, twenty-first century! Just dial it. 807-7221. Then push the Send button. Hurry!"
Spike did as he was told. "There's no answer."
"Damn it - the movie. Okay. Okay. There's a book in my bedroom. Under the bed. Demons: Familiar and Rare."
He was much quicker this time. He pulled the toilet lid down and sat on it as he flipped the book open. It was as thick as an encyclopedia. "Did she tell you the name of the demon?"
"Yes. The Falafal demon."
He looked at her. "Falafal."
She tried to hold tight to her thoughts, which were cartwheeling around in her head like overwrought circus hamsters. "Er, wait a sec. It started with F. Fairy something maybe?"
He scanned the pages. "Fabrog...Fa'den eth...was it a Faerifell?"
"Yes! Read it!"
"Ancient demon, rare, no legs, blah blah. Here we go - the tail. Are you feverish? Immobile? Yeah, that's what happened to you, all right. The good news is that you're not dying. It didn't want to kill you - it wanted to keep you still while it ate you alive. Cool. It'll wear off in a few hours, and you can also expect..." He trailed off.
She waited. "Expect what?"
He clapped the book shut. "A full recovery. Congratulations."
"Oh. Well, good."
The sudden lack of both crisis and clothing made the ensuing silence very loud. "So I guess the venom doesn't work on vampires," she noted.
He nodded philosophically. "Probably 'cause we're already dead."
"Right," she said. "So..."
"So do you think you could get me a towel, and then maybe carry me to my bed? If you don't mind?" This was not how she wanted the situation to play out, asking Spike for favour after favour, but beggars couldn't be chosers. Especially when their asses were starting to go numb.
"I suppose I could," he said, all generous-like. He took the oversized fuzzy pink towel from the hook on the back of the door, then knelt beside the tub and pulled the plug. Buffy kept her eyes on the Salon Selective - Perfectly Normal shampoo bottle as the water gurgled down the drain. She was the epitome of aloof when her nipples hardened in the cold.
"Okay, now throw the towel over me," she ordered him when she had settled to the bottom of the bathtub like Slayer silt.
Spike was very still. He stared at the last of the water puddling between Buffy's feet. "Are you in pain?" he asked her.
"Why, are you hoping I am? My ankle hurts. My neck has a kink. All the more reason to get me out of here."
"So you can still feel everything?"
The tone of his voice took her from fever to chills in a heartbeat. "I just need that towel now," she said, much more loudly than she meant to.
"I'm afraid I can't do that after all, Buffy," he told her kindly. Her stomach dropped precipitously. She watched him in a daze as he stood up. He pulled his duster off and hung it from the towel hook on the back of the door. Then he turned off her cell phone. Then he searched around in the cupboards until he found a washcloth. By the time he turned around, Buffy's mouth had gone completely dry.
"Spike..." she said as forcefully as she could manage as he knelt beside her again.
He put a finger to his lips. "Shhhhhh." He stuffed the washcloth in the drain and turned on the hot water tap. She gasped when the water touched her skin, which made him smile. "Sorry. Takes a tick for the water to get hot." When the water level reached a couple of inches, he turned off the tap and trailed a finger in the water beside her legs. "Nice and warm now," he said.
Before Buffy could reply, he took her by the feet and pulled her to the bottom end of the tub. The water sloshed over her ears as it accommodated her shifting weight. She opened her mouth, ready to yell at him, threaten him, reason with him. But then he carefully placed the soles of her feet against the wall, one on each side of the faucet, and all the words dissipated into the moist air around her. Spike cocked his head and grinned as he noticed her expression. "This is what happens when you treat people like dirt, Buffy. They always want payback. And sometimes they get it." With that, he pushed her legs apart and propped her knees against the sides of the tub.
Buffy felt the blood rush to her face as his eyes moved over her. He stared unabashedly at her body, the sweet hidden secrets now not just visible, but splayed out like a whore. Never meant for him. "This isn't right," he finally said.
Her heart leapt up - maybe it wasn't too late. Maybe he would stop himself from... The thought staggered and collapsed as he reached back and brought out a bath pillow from the cupboard under the sink. He tucked it under her bum, bringing her a good six inches up out of the water. Spreading her completely open. "Perfect," he said.
"The chip..." she said weakly.
"Ah, yes. The dodgy chip that ruins all my fun. But I'm not going to hurt you, love. No, indeed. I can't kill you, but I can still enjoy my small victories."
Spike let that sink in for a second. Buffy swallowed hard. "If you touch me, I'll stake you. I'll end you."
He didn't stop smiling. "I'm not going to touch you, either. But it's worth the risk, regardless. It's all about the risk/reward ratio." He reached up and pulled the handheld shower from its perch. "This is a handy invention," he said as he turned on the tap and watched the water spurt from the shower head. "Suppose you'd use it if you wanted to wash your hair without getting undressed." He stuck his hand into the spray and adjusted the temperature to his liking.
"Spike, please," Buffy whispered. Her heart was pounding in her ears. She was so dizzy that if she wasn't already lying down, she surely would have dropped.
Spike didn't reply, being busy aiming the water at her feet, her calves, her thighs. She held her breath while she waited for what she knew was coming next. "This is my favourite part," Spike told her, and angled the shower head so the water splashed between Buffy's legs. Then down the crack of her ass. Then up again. He didn't have to wait long to hear her say please again.
"Oh, please don't do that," she cried out. "Please stop. Please!"
He didn't stop. He flicked his wrist so the water stuttered over her clitoris. He was rewarded with a despairing moan.
"You bastard," she said through clenched teeth. "What do you think is going to happen? You think you can get me off? You revolt me. The only way you could get me that excited is if you tripped on your ego and fell on your own stake."
"That so, pet?" He turned the taps clockwise until the water was reduced to a thick, steady stream. "You ever notice this about vampires? We can keep completely still when we want to." He held the shower head so the water flowed unerringly onto the same tender spot. "Look - not a tremor. I can hold it just like this for a very…long…time."
Buffy turned her head away from him as her body responded. She had to stop this. She was the Slayer, for heaven's sake. She was trained to always be in control of her body and emotions. That was her fate - her duty - and the very idea of Spike masturbating her so he could watch her lose control sexually? Was pretty hot. Awful, she meant. Pretty awful. Damn, she was dizzy. She started to pant as Spike brought the shower head higher into the air so the water struck her more forcefully. Right on target. She had to stop this!
She tried to untangle her snarl of fevered thoughts. She just needed to convince him that he wasn't going to get what he wanted. And that called for an admission she had never planned on sharing with anyone, never mind Spike. "Listen to me. This isn't going to end like you think. I'm not very good at...you know. Going the distance. You're wasting your time if you think there's going to be some kind of, whatever, money shot." She had a feeling she had edged into True Confessions territory.
Spike was grinning again. "Now that's interesting. What, don't tell me it wasn't your moment of perfect happiness, too?"
"You prick. It was wonderful. It was everything. I'm just not sure I... I couldn't quite tell if I..." She trailed off in utter misery. There was no way to end that sentence with her dignity intact.
"Well, don't worry, Buffy," Spike said like only he could, all low and full of promises. "When I make you come, you'll know it."
That really didn't help. She closed her eyes and surrendered to the flow of water licking between her legs. She could feel Spike watching her face, her heaving breasts. Her hair spread out and drifted around her head as the tub slowly filled with water. He stopped talking altogether when the noises she made, the sobbing moans and breathy hitches, started echoing off the bathroom walls. When Buffy was gasping for air and the intensity of the pleasure was building to a level that frightened and shamed her, she opened her eyes and looked at him. Desperate. Imploring.
He wasn't smiling any more. He stared at her for a long moment, then said, "I wonder how you'd be doing if that was my tongue."
Buffy came so hard it was a tragedy. She cried out in anguish, completely powerless to prevent or conceal what was happening to her. Her hips jerked as the water gushed against her. Some small, detached voice in her head noted that those particular muscle contractions must be involuntary.
Spike obviously took immense pleasure from each jolt that wracked her body. He brought the shower head in tight to make sure she couldn't escape the pounding water even for a second. He didn't stop until she was wrung out, shaking and flushed and utterly satisfied.
"Wow. Just...wow," she said drunkenly as he gathered her up in the towel and carried her to her bedroom. "That was so wowie-wow-wow. And let me add...wow."
"It was a pleasure pleasuring you, Slayer," Spike said into her sopping hair as he turned on the light switch with his shoulder. He tossed her on her bed, where she bounced several times before settling to a stop. He took one last look at her nude body, lingering on her sticky thighs, before arranging her useless limbs and throwing an afghan over her.
She groggily watched him as he opened her closet door and peered in. "I don't understand why you did it. You know I'm going to dust you the minute my arms work again."
"Are you, now?" He pulled out her ironing board with the Guernsey cow spots and noisily unfolded it.
Buffy blinked a couple of times, trying to put the little wee puzzle pieces together. It didn't work, so she simply pretended he was just standing there. "You saw my girl parts. That would be a forceful yes."
She wasn't sure he heard her; he was busy unwrapping the cord coiled around the iron. But he must have, because he said, "Of course. I understand completely." His agreeableness was more surreal than the iron.
He plucked a random skirt from the back of a chair and began to iron it, even though the iron wasn't plugged in. He wasn't very good - he didn't even take the seam into account. Shiny cartoon stars began to dance around Buffy's head. "Uh...Spike?"
Spike carelessly lobbed the skirt back on the chair. "Oh, Buffy, before I forget," he said as he folded the ironing board back up, "there's one more little detail about that pesky demon sting."
Why did this surprise her not at all? "What detail?"
"About your symptoms. Along with the fever and paralysis?"
"You can expect vivid hallucinations."
"You can. So when you wake up from your refreshing night's sleep, you're going to have to decide what really happened to you after you were stung." He returned the ironing board to the closet.
"Oh, come off it. I can tell the difference between what's real and what's a dream."
"Can you, Slayer?"
"Yes! Throbby, here. The throbby never lies."
"But are you sure it was really me who made you throbby?"
"What are you trying to say?"
"I'm just saying you should think carefully when you're telling your avenging Scoobies what happened tonight."
"I know exactly what happened to me!" She had to shout this, because Spike had disappeared down the hall.
He was unhurriedly pulling his duster on when he returned. "Do you? Tell me, then."
"You forced yourself on me!"
"I did? But I didn't even touch you."
"Well. You forced me to have an orgasm in the bathtub."
"I see, I forced you. And then what happened?"
"And then you took me to bed and ...uh...ironed one of my skirts." She bit her lip.
"Really." He crossed his arms and leaned against the bedroom door. Resting his case.
"Really!" She sounded as desperate as she was beginning to feel. "You're just trying to trick me! Like with the line-dancing badgers!"
Now it was Spike's turn to blink. "The what now?"
"There! In the corner! The badgers? Line dancing?" Like it was self-evident.
After a moment of silence he asked, "Which line dance is it?"
She frowned, watching. "Achy Breaky Heart." Another moment. "I wonder where they got the little cowboy hats."
They looked at each other. Spike's eyebrows slowly arched. Buffy's face crumpled as the obvious explanation laboured its way onto her plane of consciousness. "Are you saying none of this is really happening?" she whispered.
"You'll have to be the judge of that, pet. I have a feeling the way I'll remember it is that I rescued you from the tub, cursing the chip every step of the way, and left you snuggled up in bed to sleep it off." He sounded so happy. "And I think that's my cue to go." He waved as he turned to leave.
Buffy licked her lips. She needed a Chapstick something fierce. "Wait! Hallucination Spike?"
He stopped. "Yes, Real Buffy?"
"Don't go. Stay. You could force me to be nice to you. You could...make me do lots of things."
Spike's mouth dropped open. "You're kidding."
"Or no! We could pretend you're a rock star, and I'm your drugged up groupie!"
"You're the doctor and I'm the paralyzed patient!"
"You're the home invasion robber and I'm the tied up wife!"
"Buffy! As tempting as those scenarios may be, I don't think it's a good idea." He was holding back laughter, which she thought was a little rude, considering.
"But why? It's not every day I have a hallucination starring you in your duster. I don't want to waste the chance to have some really excellent, nasty, imaginary vampire sex. Because it's not every day I have a hallucination starring you in your duster. Whoa, deja vu."
"I'm flattered, really. But some acts are easier to prove than other acts, after the fact."
"It's...it's hard being good all the time. You don't know. Er, what'd you say?"
His expression was stern. "I said your subconscious won't let me stay because you know it's wrong to have tied up sex with a vampire, even if it's a figment of your imagination."
Buffy groaned. "Man! I never get to have any good hallucinations!"
He came to the edge of the bed. "Tell you what - how about a good night kiss instead?"
She tried not to pout. "Okay. Whatever."
He sat down and gathered her in his arms. The buttons on his duster were cold and smooth against her skin. Her subconscious was all about the details, apparently. "Anything you'd like me to say?" he asked.
"Say something dirty," she murmured. "Say you love me."
He only froze for a moment before he whispered, "I love you, Buffy." And boy did it sound dirty. She didn't think she'd ever been so wet. He kissed her shoulder, her neck. She trembled under him, imagining his mouth closing over soft, wet skin. When he kissed her mouth, then kissed it again, harder, she let him. Oh, God, she let him, moaning, and when he pushed his tongue into her, she liked it. And if she could have, she would have spread her legs for him and let him do whatever he wanted to whatever part of her he wanted.
He finally pulled back, scrambling ungainfully off the bed, as afraid as she'd ever seen him. "This can't be real," he stammered, "because I wouldn't be able to stop now if it was." Then he fled, touching maybe two of the stairs on the way down.
Best hallucination ever. She closed her eyes and waited for Willow and Dawn to come home.
Spike tried to compose himself at the front door, hunched over like the chip had just kicked his ass. He wasn't about to analyze what had just happened. He was going to go home, get drunk again, and fuck Harmony until she broke in half. And then he was going to start hating the Slayer again, even more than before. The fucking end.
As he stepped out onto the porch, he could hear her voice drifting dreamily down the stairs. "'Cause if you tell my heart, my achy breaky heart, he might blow up and kill this man. Ooooh-oo-oo."
The thing about the Slayer was, Spike hated her. And he was going to keep saying that until it was bloody well true.
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