Acting Up by Starlight_Slayer

1. Chapter 1 by Starlight_Slayer

2. Chapter 2 by Starlight_Slayer

3. Chapter 3 by Starlight_Slayer

4. Chapter 4 by Starlight_Slayer

5. Chapter 5 by Starlight_Slayer

6. Chapter 6 by Starlight_Slayer

7. Chapter 7 by Starlight_Slayer

8. Chapter 8 by Starlight_Slayer

9. Chapter 9 by Starlight_Slayer

10. Chapter 10 by Starlight_Slayer

11. Chapter 11 by Starlight_Slayer

12. Chapter 12 by Starlight_Slayer

13. Chapter 13 by Starlight_Slayer

14. Chapter 14 by Starlight_Slayer

15. Chapter 15 by Starlight_Slayer

16. Chapter 16 by Starlight_Slayer

17. Chapter 17 by Starlight_Slayer

18. Chapter 18 by Starlight_Slayer

19. Chapter 19 by Starlight_Slayer

20. Chapter 20 by Starlight_Slayer

21. Chapter 21 by Starlight_Slayer

Chapter 1 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
This story is not going to be too long, probably no more than ten chapters.

I'm going to try and update this regularly (along with my other WIPs). I hope everyone enjoys it.
A plethora of flashlights blinded the young blonde the minute she stepped out of the hotel’s revolving doors. Hoards of reporters fired question after question at her, even as she covered her sunglasses-clad face with her tiny hand.





An older gentleman pushed through the crowd in front of her, shielding her from the worst of the hounding, but inside she felt like with every inane question, another part of her shriveled and died. Clinging to his arm she tottered as fast as she could on four inch stiletto heels.





“No comment!” The older, gray-haired man declared to the reporters stiffly in his upper class British accent, even as the bulky microphones continued to be shoved in their faces. “Miss Summers has nothing to say.”





Finally they made it through the throng to the large stretch limousine that was waiting for them, and he ushered her inside before slipping in himself.





Outside they could still see the constant pop of flashbulbs but at least the car provided a barrier to the barrage that they had faced moments earlier





The tranquility of the limo was like an oasis for Buffy and she pulled off her sunglasses with a groan and rested her head against the back of the seat.





“Are you quite alright, Buffy?” Rupert Giles asked her with concern. His young charge was looking decidedly thin and pale, the events of recent days taking a toll on her.





She nodded unsurely.





“I guess I’m okay.” At his worried look, she rolled her eyes. “I’ll be fine, as soon as all the press attention dies down.”





The look he gave her at that statement proved that he knew just as well as her that would never happen.





At least not completely.





Since she was seven years old Buffy had been in the spotlight. Her mother had taken her to the casting of a new movie on a whim, and Buffy beat out all the other kids to take the starring role.





Now, sixteen years, twelve movies and four hit television shows later, her every move was documented by paparazzi. Every single failed romance had made the front pages of the gossip rags and she could barely even go to the grocery store without someone trying to snap a picture of her or begging her for an autograph. Even the absolute worst of her bad hair days seemed to be fodder for the public to chew over.





All her life she had longed to be a normal girl.





But short of a miracle, that wasn’t possible.





As the limo moved off, she vaguely registered Giles, the man who had been her manager since she was nine years old, reciting her itinerary for the day to her.





But she couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying, because the young girl was still reeling from the betrayal of her latest boyfriend that had caused a renewed upsurge in the reporters who were after her blood.





Buffy hadn’t exactly loved Riley Finn, television star and asshole extraordinaire, but it didn’t stop the front cover pictures of him in the arms of some two-bit whore that had been published only days earlier any less gut-wrenchingly painful.





Even then, the young blonde had been willing to hear him out and even forgive him. However, his excuses had been the final nail in the coffin.





Riley had proclaimed that he was driven to infidelity by her lack of attention to him.





He told her that a woman should always put her man first and Buffy clearly wasn’t capable of accomplishing that, because as America’s beloved sweetheart she was virtually public property.





It was just another reminder that she could never be the normal girl she so badly longed to be.





Of course, no one could blame her when she made her fist collide with his pointy little nose.





She smiled to herself as she remembered the crunch as her balled up fist smashed into the bone and the gush of blood that followed his wailing cry.





“Buffy are you listening to me?” Giles asked sternly, breaking into her reflective musings.





“Huh?” She said, startled.





“Why, yes, clearly you’re hanging off my every word.” He drawled dryly. “Listen, Buffy, if you’re not up to doing this job…”





“I’m up to it!” She exclaimed. “I’m very, very up. I’m upper than up. I’m actually the up-est.”





Giles threw her a bemused look and sighed wearily.





“Okay, if you say so. Well, at least the job only entails one week of filming and then you can take that holiday I suggested.”





“I don’t need any vacation time, Giles.” Buffy assured her manager. “I need to keep working and keep my mind off of…things.”





“But you’ve been exceedingly upset following recent events…”





“And again, I repeat. Keep working. Mind off. Best way.”





Giles threw his arms in the air resignedly.





“Fine. We shall do this your way, for now.” Giles conceded.





“Oh thank you, lord and master.” Buffy mocked with a playful edge in her voice.





When the limo pulled up outside the studio, the pair stepped out and were greeted by a long haired man in a cowboy hat sporting a beaming smile and a skinny brunette female in a flawless designer suit who was regarding Buffy with a pinched face.





Buffy suddenly felt a little insecure about her Prada ensemble, and smoothed down her front of her skirt.





“Well hello Miss Summers and welcome.” The jean clad man gushed in a strong Texan accent. “We’re so pleased to have you here!”





He held out a meaty hand and took her delicate paw in his own, placing a gentle kiss on her fingertips.





“I’m Lindsey McDonald. I’ve been directing ‘Murder So Strange’ for the past three seasons.” He said. “And this here lady is Lilah Morgan. She’s our producer.”





Buffy nodded but let most of what he was saying fly right over her head. She didn’t need a history lesson about some daytime mystery drama.





In all honesty she wasn’t even sure why she took the role, although the idea of working on a lower-key show, even just for a little while, was appealing against the usual glitz and glamour she was confronted by.





The four of them set off inside and they ambled down the long corridors of the studio, with Lindsey still rattling off information.





“You already read the script that we had sent over, I assume.” Lilah said tersely, interrupting Lindsey and barging through to walk next to the girl.





It wasn’t a question, but Buffy was not about to tell her that she’d barely glanced at it since she found out on the same day she received it that her boyfriend was fucking another woman.





“Anything else I should know?” Buffy asked halfheartedly.





“All the other information that is relevant will be given to Mr. Giles and I’m sure he can pass along anything else that you need to know. You’ll need to be in hair and make-up in twenty minutes though.” Lilah told her matter-of-factly. “I just hope they can do something with those bags under your eyes. It looks as if your eyelids are packed and ready to take an extended vacation.”





The blonde scowled at the rude woman next to her, but Lilah just smiled, the very picture of sweetness and innocence.





Sensing the tension, Lindsey left Giles’ side and joined the women, slipping between the two.





“You’re going to have a wonderful time on set here, Buffy.” He assured her. “And we’re honored to have a star like you on our little show.”





“Thank you.” She responded gracefully, lowering her head to hide the faint blush that colored her cheeks.





“Oh!” Lindsey said excitedly as he led her toward her dressing room. “Did I mention you’re going to be co-starring with Spike Pryce?”





Buffy froze at the name, the blood draining from her face.





God, could her life get any worse?





Apparently the answer was yes.





And worse seemingly came in the shape of a rude, ignorant, obnoxious ex-porn star.





Spike Pryce.





Oh yeah, she was cursed!


Chapter End Notes:
Thank you for reading. Feedback and reviews are always appreciated. :)
Chapter 2 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
So here's the next chapter to this story. I apologize for the long delay. Unfortunately I haven't gotten much time lately.

Thank you for reading and for all the reviews.

Enjoy. :)
The first morning of filming passed without a hitch. Although Buffy assumed that the lack of hindrance was mostly because one cast member was still conspicuously absent.



Trust Spike Pryce to think that special rules applied to him and that he had leave to roll up later than everyone else.



It was irrelevant that he didn’t have any scheduled scenes until later on in the day.



However, Buffy knew that it was only a matter of time before her obnoxious nemesis arrived, and she was dreading seeing him.



When filming had wrapped up for the morning, she had wanted to head straight to her dressing room, mostly in case Spike appeared, but Giles had persuaded her to stay and mingle with the other members of the cast.



However, that had mostly consisted of her standing alone by the buffet table, ignoring the whispers of the cast and crew. Buffy couldn’t help but feel that those whispers were about her, especially teamed with the sly looks that several people were shooting at her.



She hoped she was just imagining it, but having spent the best part of her life as gossip fodder for the masses, she doubted that it was only her overactive imagination.



She suppressed her paranoia and picked up a cheese sandwich, biting into the semi-stale bread daintily.



Unfortunately, a familiar voice reverberating from the hallway almost made her choke on her mouthful.



Of course she would hear him before she saw him.



The booming baritone of his coarse laughter preceded his less than modest entrance.



Buffy stared at him from underneath a mane of blonde curls, trying to clandestinely study him.



His hair was still the same shocking shade of white as when she last saw him and apparently he hadn’t progressed from the 1970’s punk look that had been his signature during his entire porn career.



The man was full of swagger, his long leather coat billowing behind him as he arrogantly strutted along.



Buffy wasn’t surprised to see him with a vapid looking blonde girl hanging off of one of his arms, and the show’s producer, Lilah, already fawning over him with dainty laughs and saccharine smiles.



Ugh she hated everything about that man.



He was the epitome of everything that she loathed. He was cocky, rude and, in her opinion, talentless.



Why couldn’t anyone else see that?



Buffy believed that anyone could make money by taking their clothes off and behaving like an animal. It surely wasn’t an indication of true talent.



It was soulless and wrong.



Trying to make herself a little more inconspicuous she turned away from him, absently playing with a bowl of nuts that was laid out on the buffet table behind her.



She prayed to the Powers That Be that Spike would just be content to only interact with her during the scenes they had to endure together.



Of course, in her life the Powers were usually less than kind and this was no exception.



Buffy winced when she heard the heavy tread of a pair of clomping boots behind her and her whole body tensed. She could smell his familiar cologne clogging her nostrils and swallowed hard at the memories that it raised.



“Well, well, well.” Spike laughed. “If it isn’t Miss Priss, Buffy Summers. And she’s got curls, like a piglet.”



“Go away, Spike.” She sighed, without even looking over her shoulder at him.



“I don’t think I will go away, pet. Got a bloody brilliant view from where I’m standing right now.”



She didn’t have to look at him to know that he was leering at her ass, and she felt a tide of anger well up inside her.



The blonde whirled around and shot him one of her most menacing glares, her fists clenched at her sides and her posture as rigid as could be.



“What? Not pleased to see me?” he asked with faux innocence, tilting his head questioningly.



“I wish I could say it’s nice to see you, Spike. But I always say honesty is the best policy. So I’m not gonna lie.”



The peroxide blond didn’t seem particularly offended, judging by the smirk that was pasted on his face.



“Shouldn’t expect much less from you, Summers. Always been an Ice Queen.” Spike drawled smugly in his low British tones.



“You don’t even know me, Spike. You think you do, but you don’t. We don’t live in the same kind of world.”



“You’re right, pet. In my world, the women are always a lot less frigid and lot more eager to bloody well spread for me.”



She wrinkled her nose in distaste.



“Ugh, you’re such a pig! I pity any woman who has the misfortune to...spread anything for you.”



He laughed raucously again, drawing the attention from a few crew members standing nearby.



“Oh, love, don’t feel bad for them. They may be ‘one use only’ kinds of birds but I take them to the most unimaginable heights of pleasure before I dump them. I make them bloody soar. If you knew the things I can do with my tongue….”



“I don’t ever want to know. I don’t want to…”



Before she realized what was happening, Spike was pressing himself against her, trapping her against the buffet table and reaching behind her body. She felt all the air leave her body in a heavy puff.



As he pushed himself roughly against her, she didn’t even want to think about what the hard thing pressing into her side could be.



Buffy squealed with indignation, ignoring the way that her breathing quickened but frowned in confusion when Spike took a step back immediately and opened his hand to reveal a handful of mixed nuts.



“Sorry, love.” He chuckled, popping a nut into his mouth and moaning obscenely at the taste. “I was feeling a little peckish and that bowl of nuts behind you just looked too good to resist. If you happen to get hungry then you can feel free to eat my nuts too.”



It took Buffy a moment to figure out the double entendre but as soon as the meaning hit her the young woman flushed a deep shade of crimson and pierced him with another scathing glare.



“I would never, ever touch your nuts, Spike.” Buffy hissed.



He leaned down, close to her ear and she shivered involuntarily when she felt his hot moist breath on her neck.



“Came close once though, didn’t you?” He murmured softly.



She could feel his smile against her skin, and shoved him away angrily, sending the overconfident man sprawling to the ground.



The commotion drew the attention of Lindsey, who came jogging over to the scene with a worried look on his face.



“What’s going on?” He asked Buffy, clearly trying to rein in his concern.



“Your leading actor is a pig and an asshole. That’s what’s going on!” She yelled at Lindsey, knowing she was acting like a first-class diva, but failing to care anymore.



Spike clambered to his feet while trying to fend off the attentions of the vapid looking blonde girl that Buffy had noticed with him earlier. Miss Vapid had rushed over from where she had been shamelessly flirting with a dark haired male model type and wrapped herself around Spike like a Boa constrictor when she saw him fall. Buffy ignored the feeling of chagrin that struck her when she saw the other girl all over Spike like a rash.



“Oi!” Spike protested, irritated at Buffy’s words. “You’re the bloody psycho-bitch who attacked me, Summers!”



“You were in my space!” Buffy screamed, furiously gesturing at him with wildly waving arms.



Vapid-Blonde was still draping herself over Spike, and glaring at Buffy which only served to inflame her fury. Apparently Spike wasn’t in the mood for his companion’s amorous behavior either.



“Would you bloody well get off me, Harm!” He yelled at her, tugging his shoulder from her embrace.



“Classic Spike!” Buffy exclaimed gesturing to the other girl. “No respect for women at all.”



Spike shot her a look of astonishment at her defense of his current squeeze.



“Bloody hell! You women are all nutters, ganging up on a poor bloke like me.”



“Come on now.” Lindsey said nervously, trying to calm the situation. He really didn’t want the drama of his two lead actors feuding on the first day of filming together.



Apparently neither of the two blondes was even aware that he, or anyone else, was in the room as they stood toe to toe, nose to nose, and engaged in a mammoth slanging match.



“Don’t come near me, Pryce.” Buffy said with disgust, even as their faces were almost touching.



“Yeah because you never want anyone ‘in your space’, do you Summers? That’s half of your sodding problem. You’re cold and dead inside, bitch.”



“At least I’m not a dirty man-whore who drops my pants for the camera because I have zero talent to actually be a real actor.”



“Real actor?” Spike scoffed. “You’re riding on the coattails of the fame you achieved as an irritating pouting little kid.”



“I know more about acting than a…wannabe like you will ever know!”



“Yeah, because your acting talent is the real reason that men like you!” His laugh was steeped with sarcasm. “I’m sure it’s got sod-all to do with your banging bloody body.”



“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Buffy stamped her foot, affronted and placed her hands on her hips.



She didn’t even realize that he had actually paid her a backhanded compliment. And Spike didn’t quite realize that he was walking a fine line now.



“I know you love to play the dumb blonde but surely even you can deduce that one, love. Men don’t come to watch your bloody movies or your sickly sweet television appearances for your high caliber of acting. They come because they want to ogle that sexy little bod of yours.”



“That’s not true! That is a…a vicious lie!”



“Deny it all you want, Summers. But men all over the world fantasize about you dropping your knickers for them so they can get a taste of what’s underneath. And you, pet, are happy to show off most of your bits on the silver screen from what I’ve seen.” He gave her a mocking look of sympathy. “Pity they don’t know that when it comes to the sodding crunch your goodies are bloody well dried up.”



She fumed with humiliation and hurt at his words.



How dare Spike Pryce, the king of bad, cheesy pornos, tell her that she was dried up!



Losing her temper once and for all, she cocked her fist back and let it fly toward Spike’s face.



Unfortunately for her, he ducked at that exact moment and instead of hitting him, her fist went sailing right into the cheek of the man that was just walking up behind him.



The crowd of cast and crew members watching the spectacle gasped collectively when they saw an older gray-haired man on the receiving end of the punch that had been intended for Spike.



“Oh my god, Giles!” Buffy cried out when she saw her manager fall to the ground, pain blooming in his cheek.



She rushed to his side and helped him climb to his feet, all the while showering him with apologies.



Giles dusted himself off and assured her that there was no permanent damage done, although he was gently massaging his abused cheekbone with shaky fingers.



“Really Buffy, I’m quite alright. You needn’t fuss over me, dear.” Giles told her, laying a calming hand on her shoulder and giving her a reassuring smile. “Although, I must say, you are rather deceptively strong.”



She looked stricken and he took pity on his surrogate daughter.



“It’s just a bruise, Buffy. Please don’t worry. Just do calm down.”



However, her veins were still bubbling with anger and she whipped around to face Spike once again. It incited her when she saw that he was smirking, like the cat that got the proverbial cream.



Not that he would ever get any cream from her.



“This is all your fault.” Buffy hissed through tightly gritted teeth.



“Seems like you were the one who tried to attack me, Princess. Don’t go blaming me for your barmy actions. Not my bleeding fault that I make you…lose control.” He flashed her his most perverted leer and lowered his voice to a sensual drawl as he trailed off.



Buffy dampened down a shudder inside of her belly. She reminded herself that she hated this man, and everything that he represented.



It didn’t matter that he was aesthetically pleasing, because on the inside he was rotten, like overripe fruit.



Flicking her hair behind her shoulder, she raised her chin up in defiance. However, she just wanted to get away from him before she lost control of herself again.



Why was he the only one in the whole world who was able to annoy her so much?



“This isn’t over!” Buffy warned before striding away, leaving Spike to gawk at her little round ass.



Tilting his head, he smiled a knowing smile.



The crowd rapidly dissipated now that the drama was over.



“Uh, could I get some ice?” Giles asked no one in particular, gingerly cupping his cheek.



His plea went unheard.

Chapter End Notes:
Thanks for reading. I hope that everyone enjoyed this. :)
Chapter 3 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
Well, it's been a while because I've been very busy for the past few months, but now I'm back and I'm hoping to update this story and my other WIPs regularly.

I'm sorry it's been such a long time, but I promise to make up for the delay with lots and lots of Spuffy goodness. :)

Enjoy!
The next morning the quiet of her dressing room was a welcome relief for Buffy after the chaos that had passed the day before.





Not that it had been her fault of course. The culprit was Spike.





Of course that bleached menace would cause trouble from the moment he walked through the door. That was his classic trademark.





She had managed to avoid him for the rest of the previous day, seeing as they hadn’t had any scenes together yet, but she already knew that today would be a different story.





Her mind briefly flickered back to the last time she encountered him several years earlier, but before her thoughts wandered that way, she suppressed them and turned her reflections to the scenes she had to endure later that day.





This episode of ‘Murder Most Strange’ was set around three main characters: Jim, his girlfriend Shell and Shell’s younger sister Kelly. Having just inherited a diamond ring from a distant relative, Kelly is financially set for life, which causes the wheels of deceit to start turning in her sister’s head. The tale was one of pain, betrayal, and heartbreak.





Buffy scoffed as she realized that pretty much echoed her actual life.





Unfortunately her nemesis, Spike playing Jim, and therefore was the guy she was supposed to spend the next few days playing kissy-face with. The scenes that she was scheduled to act out with Spike were peppered with sensual kisses and seductive gestures.





Even the thought of kissing him sent shivers through her body but she easily convinced herself that they were the bad kind of shivers. They’d locked lips once before the last time they encountered each, but that didn’t bring her any memories of the good kind. Anyway, she was a woman now and not the na´ve girl she was back then.





Before she could delve any deeper into her musings about Spike, a knock on the door shocked her out of her reflections.





She heaved herself to her feet with an exhausted sigh and opened the door to a pink haired studio runner.





“Hi!” the young girl grinned cheerily, popping her gum. “You’re needed on set.”





“Right now?”





“Uh huh.” Pink-hair popped her gum again, and ushered Buffy out of her dressing room. Somehow, the walk back to the set felt like she was walking the green mile. Even though Buffy had some other scenes to film before she would be forced to endure Spike, in some ways that just prolonged the agony.





Spending time with Captain Peroxide was best done in the same way as pulling off a band aid.





The worst thing was that Buffy didn’t want to give Spike this kind of power over her or over her emotions but she just couldn’t help it. It was like he loosened something deep within her and in her unhinged state her feelings were given free rein to go crazy.





Her mind flashed back to their first meeting all those years ago and the cruel words that followed. She wished she could erase that memory, but it was impossible.





Buffy had spent the best part of her life schooling herself to be cool, calm and composed. She was, after all, one of the most successful actresses in the continental USA. However, Spike Price was like an ice pick, chipping away at her until she crumbled into hysterical pieces.





No one else in the world was able to burrow as deeply under her skin as the annoying blond. He should be forced by law to wear a sign labeled: ‘Irritant.’





As soon as Pink-hair left her alone in the green room a dark haired teenager came bounding up to her, seemingly brimming with excitement. The teen was dressed in jeans and a roll neck sweater. Her long hair was draped over her shoulders in long waves and she looked every inch the fresh faced young girl that Hollywood would just love to corrupt.





“Oh my God!” she young girl cooed, “You’re Buffy freakin’ Summers!”





Buffy took a subtle step back from the girl and nodded. “Well my middle name is actually ‘Anne’, but ‘freakin’’ works too.”





The way she was feeling right now ‘freaking’ actually fitted her perfectly.





The bouncy brown haired teenager grinned, “Sorry, I’m sorta wiggin out. I’m Dawn Keyes. I guess we’re sisters now…kinda. I’m playing Kelly.”





Buffy nodded. She vaguely recognized the younger girl from some commercial or other, and guessed this was a big break for someone like Dawn.





“I’ve been totally excited since I found out I was gonna be working with you,” Dawn gushed. “You’ve been my idol since like forever. I’m totally serious.”





“Not sure I should be anyone’s idol,” Buffy smiled modestly, but Dawn didn’t even seem to hear her as she was suddenly staring off into the space behind Buffy. The blonde glanced over her shoulder to see what Dawn was staring at, and hissed out a breath when she caught sight of him.





Spike.





Ah, apparently there was someone that Dawn idolized even more than Buffy.





“Oh, isn’t he dreamy,” Dawn whispered to herself.





“Who? Spike?” Buffy sneered, stepping to the side to purposely obscure Dawn’s view.





“Yeah! Hello! Total salty goodness right there.”





“Dawn!” Buffy exclaimed. Although she didn’t know this girl too well, she felt a protective instinct for her. The brunette couldn’t have been more than eighteen years old, and in Hollywood that made her lion-food. “He’s…not the kind of guy you want to hang around with. If you knew about his past…”





“Oh, come on, Buffy. He’s sex on a very long stick. And I mean *long*.” At Buffy’s glare she clarified. “I know he was a porn star. I’ve even seen some of his movies.”





“You so shouldn’t be watching anything like that,” Buffy chided her younger companion. God, she suddenly felt like her own mother.





“I’m not a kid,” Dawn bit back insolently, a very child-like pout forming on her lips.





“I know, Dawn,” Buffy said gently. “But I’ve been in this business a long time, and I’ve seen other girls get chewed up and spit out. I wouldn’t want to see that happen to you.”





Dawn looked thoughtful for a moment but finally nodded and smiled at Buffy. Well, at least one person around here listened to her.





“So I can look, but no touchies?”





Buffy sighed. Or maybe not.





Lindsey’s arrival broke up the girl-talk and the rest of the morning passed by quickly. The scenes with Dawn flew by in a haze of giggles. Buffy really warmed to the younger girl. Even though her onscreen character would have to betray Dawn’s onscreen character, as people they’d definitely bonded.





Unfortunately, she couldn’t say the same for her other co-star. He was still as insufferable as ever.





By the time the morning’s scenes were all wrapped up, Buffy was starving. She practically vaulted into the green room and over to the food table, feeling her stomach grumbling angrily about the lack of food inside of it.





When she reached the table, she noticed that the goodies had already been virtually decimated by the crew. However, Buffy spotted the solitary muffin on one of the trays and licked her lips. She knew that she probably shouldn’t indulge in something so calorific, but after the stress of the past few days…scratch that…after the stress of her whole damn life, she deserved a little luxury.





She was just reaching for the yummy hunk of chocolate-y goodness, when another hand, with tacky black tipped nails, swooped down seemingly out of nowhere and closed around the treat.





Buffy looked up just as Spike snatched the final chocolate muffin from the plate.





That rat bastard!





“Hey!” she exclaimed.





“What can I say, pet?” he chortled mockingly, waving the muffin at her and enjoying the small victory over the little firecracker. Sure, it was petty, but he was a petty man sometimes. “Finders keepers.”





“That’s mine!” She tried to grab for the muffin, but he held it just out of reach, laughing as she jumped for it. Spike had a few inches in height on Buffy so it wasn’t hard to keep it away from her.





“Give it!”





He simply shrugged, bringing it sensually to his plump lips, and ran his tongue over the top of it, smiling wickedly at her gasp of outrage.





“Did you just lick my muffin?” she demanded, glaring fiercely at him.





His eyes took on a sparkle as he bit into the moist cake and hummed in pleasure. “Not yet,” he drawled. “But give me time.” He leaned in toward her, running his fingers down her hairline. “I can guarantee that if I was licking your…muffin, it’d put a smile on your face, the likes of which you’ve never felt before.”





Realizing what he was doing, Buffy flinched away from him. “You could never put a smile on my face.”





“Yeah, seems like bloody hard work to make a miserable chit like you happy, doesn’t it?”





“God, why do I even talk to you?” She threw her hands up in frustration.





“Because of my indomitable spirit, stunning good looks, and hot, tight bod?”





“Actually I was thinking more of a mental aberration on my part.”





“Not gonna argue with you there,” he laughed, drawing another angry grunt from Buffy.





Apparently Spike was the only person who was better at verbal sparring than she was. And that grated on every single one of her nerves.





Before she could say anything else, a hyperactive Dawn distracted the pair of them, bouncing up and striking up a conversation with Spike.





“Oh my God!” Dawn clucked, like a chicken in heat. “I’ve been so excited about meeting THE Spike Pryce.”





“Well now, I’m sure you have love,” Spike drawled, a glint flickering in his eyes.





With Dawn hanging all over him, it seemed like Buffy was old news. Suddenly feeling snubbed, Buffy began to rethink her earlier ideas about a striking up a genuine friendship with Dawn.





The younger brunette was all over him like a bout of mono, touching his shoulder playfully and laughing overly loudly at his unfunny jokes. Buffy suddenly felt sick. It wasn’t that she wanted Spike to pay attention to her, because hello…she hated the asshole. But to be slighted for some teenage bit of fluff pissed her off.





She absently wondered where his vapid blonde girlfriend was. Buffy didn’t think that bimbo, Harmony, would be happy to see Spike flirting with someone else. Hey, maybe the blonde would castrate him when she found out. That thought brightened Buffy’s mood a little bit.





After what seemed like an eternity, Dawn and Spike finally finished flirting and Dawn smiled coyly at Spike before skipping away. The teenager was clearly lovestruck and Buffy couldn’t help but roll her eyes at the ludicrousness of the situation.





“Corrupting young girls? Buffy sneered. “That’s kind of your thing, isn’t it, Spike?”





Spike gave a snort of annoyance. “You think I’d bloody well touch that little bit? I’m not that much of a wanker. She’s a kid, love. Too young for me.”





“I wasn’t much older than her when…” Buffy stopped herself before she could finish, but from the guilty look on Spike’s face, she knew that he realized what she was referring to.





She couldn’t be talking about anything else other than the last occasion that they encountered each other. A painful memory for Buffy and one that still stirred up guilt for Spike.





“We didn’t do anything though, pet,” he said, more softly than she was used to from the brash blond. “Not in the end.”





“No we didn’t, and the whole world knew that we didn’t, that I ‘wasn’t worth a go.’ Thanks to you.”





His mouth flapped open and closed several times but no sound came out. Apparently he didn’t have any words for her on that subject.





Luckily, it was time for them to film their scenes together and so they didn’t have time to delve deeper into the past. They took their marks in silence, adopting the personas of their characters.





“Okay…and…action!” Lindsey shouted.





Shell smiled at Jim with beaming white teeth as he took her in his arms and hugged her hello. It was easy for Buffy to become someone else, which was one of the reasons why she adored acting so much. When she was Shell, she didn’t have to be Buffy, the girl who always ended up in shreds whenever she got within ten miles of a creature with a penis.





“I’ve missed you,” Jim told her and Shell smiled at him again, but didn’t verbally return his affection.





“I’ve had the worst day. That little bitch Kelly has totally screwed me over.” Shell informed her lover without anymore preamble, placing her hand provocatively on her hip.





“I’d much rather hear about you than your sister,” Jim replied trying to pull her closer to him but failing when she smacked him away. “But I guess I’ll have to hear about her.”





“I’m serious, Jim,” she insisted. “Aunt Tamara died.”





“Commiserations,” he said half-heartedly.





“Ugh, I didn’t care about that old bat. She smelled funny and she was totally nutballs. But she did leave a will and her most valuable possession went to my sister.”





Jim’s ears perked up at the word ‘valuable.’ “Oh really?”





“Yep. Goddamn Kelly gets a five million dollar diamond ring, and I get zip. Isn’t that so unfair?”





Jim nodded vigorously in agreement. “Old bitch must have been crazy to give anything to that irritating little chit instead of my beautiful Shell.” He pecked her on the lips but she pulled away before he could deepen it.





“That’s why I have a plan,” Shell grinned. “Kelly has always been a thorn in my side. Ever since we lost our parents I’ve had to take care of the ungrateful little brat. She was a mistake anyway. My parents didn’t even want her. And now she gets everything and I get nothing. I’m planning on taking back what’s mine by rights.”





“And how do you plan to do that?”





“We’re going to steal the ring,” she explained with a gleam in her eyes. “It should be mine anyway, so it’s not even really stealing.”





“Won’t she go to the police?” Jim asked. “Cops would be all over us in days unless we flee.”





“I already considered that, and I think we should leave. There’s nothing left for us here anymore. We can get south of the border and live like royalty. And also…Kelly won’t be able to tell anyone. She’ll be dead.”





Jim gasped dramatically. “Dead?”





“Uh huh. You’re going to kill her.”





Jim looked shocked and began to pace. “I’m not sure that I can kill anyone, Shell.”





“Come on, baby,” she cooed, stilling him and wrapping her arms around his neck. “Won’t you do this for me?”





“We’re talking about murder here, love.”





“Ah, murder schmurder. We’re talking about reclaiming what’s mine and getting rid of a girl who’s nothing more than a parasite.” She affected a pout and let the tears start to run down her face. “If you loved me you’d do this. I can’t do it without you.”





Jim flopped down into the nearest chair and put his head in his hands. “Okay, love. You win. I’m on board.”





Shell squealed happily. “I knew you’d do the right thing.”





Prowling toward Jim, Shell moved slowly. Although Jim didn’t know it, she was the hunter and he was the hunted.





She climbed into his lap and straddled him. Buffy slipped out of character for a fleeting moment as she endeavored to ignore the bulge that was now cradled between her slender thighs. However, she was a professional and determined to ignore Spike’s clear lack of ability to be as proficient as her.





“So, is that all settled then?” Shell asked, getting back into character and leaning forward to bite Jim’s neck with small, sharp teeth. She heard him hiss beneath her touch and smiled.





“Y-Yes,” he stuttered. “We steal the ring, dispose of Kelly and live happily ever after.”





“Mmm,” Shell agreed. “Sounds like paradise.”





“It’s always paradise when I’m with you, Shelly.” He caressed the side of her face with gentleness, trailing his fingers down to her chin. Clasping a hold of her delicate chin between his fingers, he guided her lips to his for a slow, steamy kiss.





As the kiss deepened, suddenly it was no longer Shell and Jim kissing, but Buffy and Spike.





For some reason when their lips touched, neither of them could maintain the pretence any longer. It was like drawing back a curtain and leaving just the raw, untainted truth. The fašade slipped away from them both and was replaced with a haze of lust. All the animosity was totally forgotten. They moaned unconsciously as she writhed on his lap, running her fingers through his short curls with wanton abandon.





“And…cut!”





Lindsey’s voice penetrated her foggy brain and she leapt off of Spike as if he was suddenly made of hot coals. Bile rose in her throat at the thought of what had just happened.





She’d been kissing Spike!





And not just because it was what the script dictated. Buffy had wanted him at that second. She knew that if he’d laid her down on the ground and taken her she would probably have been powerless to refuse him.





As an actress Buffy Summers had kissed a lot of men on screen, and nothing like that had ever happened before, much less with someone she loathed and despised.





Buffy was thankful that was her last scene of the day. She couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel, soak in a hot bubble bath and hit the hay.





The ride back to the hotel was quiet. Giles asked more than once if she was okay but she just nodded and resumed her new favorite pastime of staring out of the window. She didn’t actually want to look at Giles right now anyway, because the big glaring bruise on his face was a reminder of just how much her life sucked right now. Everything was going wrong for her, and maybe she was having a pity party, but she felt it was definitely needed.





The limousine pulled up outside the front entrance to her hotel and she took a deep steadying breath. Giles clasped her hand to reassure her that he was with her all the way and she smiled at him gratefully.





As she climbed out of the limo, a lake of reporters flooded the space around her. They were like vultures, mercilessly descending on the flesh of their victims, unwilling to quit until their prey was gnawed down to the bone.





She pushed through them, guided by the unwavering hand of Giles, and kept her head down. Questions hit her like bullets in rapid fire, each one tearing at her restraint a little more. For a moment she felt like she was about to snap, and balled her hands into tense fists.





When they finally reached the hotel lobby, after what seemed like an eternity, Buffy breathed a sigh of relief. She felt like she was safe again, but for how long?





She really wasn’t sure that she could contend with his kind of hounding from the press for much longer. Although Giles had repeatedly assured her that the extreme interest had only been piqued by her very public break up with Finn and that it would eventually fizzle out, she had her own doubts. Although Giles would never tell her, he had his own worries about Buffy’s mental stability should the hounding continue.





As they stood wordlessly on the elevator together, Buffy and Giles both had heads full of worries, and neither of them were willing or able to share with each other.





Saying goodbye to Giles for the evening when she finally reached her room, Buffy darted inside and closed the door behind her, making sure to double bolt it. There was no way anyone could invade her retreat now.





She had never been so relieved to find refuge from the outside world. The reporters, of course, were just part of the problem, but the other troubles were something she was definitely not going to think about.





As soon as that thought crossed her mind, the memory of Spike’s lips on hers reappeared inside her head and she dived face down onto her bed.





She was doomed.


Chapter End Notes:
I hope you enjoyed it, and please review. :)

Chapter 4 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
Thank you for the reviews on the previous chapter and here's the next chapter!

Warning for some Spike/Other in this chapter and also for other sexual situations.

Enjoy!
Buffy’s plans for a quiet evening quickly turned into boredom, which led to thoughts of how depressed she was currently feeling. What she really needed was a distraction.

Or copious quantities of vodka.

Deciding that turning to drink was something that needed to be reserved for only extreme emergencies, she settled on the idea of watching a movie. Something violent and bloody might make her feel better about her own pathetic existence. Of course, the word ‘movie’ had its own set of connotations right now.

Dawn’s words about Spike’s prowess in his movies had been haunting her all day, and piqued her curiosity. Since their kiss those thoughts had definitely intensified. If he could make her feel that way with a kiss that was supposed to be contrived and sterile, then how what would it be like if she were to ever kiss him for real? Not that she would, of course. She didn’t even want to think about him, so why would she kiss him?

But despite her resolve to keep him out of her thoughts, the desire to just take a little peek at those movies washed over her like an unstoppable tidal wave. She needed to know, just to settle her own curiosity and then she could put it out of her mind.

Thoughtlessly, she pulled out her laptop and turned it on, drumming her fingers in anticipation as she waited impatiently. When it finally turned on, she pulled up Google and searched for ‘Spike Pryce + sex videos’ as if she was running on autopilot.

Millions of hits came up from the search, some of which were snippets from his movies, others hits from forums that apparently compared his penis size to every other male porn star on the planet. Buffy felt shocked, yet weirdly a little aroused at this world she never even knew existed.

One particular result caught her eye though. It was a link to a video called: ‘One Man and his Tool’ and the brief description explained that Spike Pryce starred as a horny plumber, happy to give it good to the two girls that needed his services. Buffy’s heart began to pound in her chest at the thought of Spike with two women. She wasn’t quite sure what her racing heart meant.

Before logic kicked in, she clicked on the link.

The website, called fucksandsucks.com, didn’t exactly look like the most reputable site in the world. She made a mental node to clear her browser history later…just in case. In spite of her vast doubts, she was determined that all she needed was a look, just to see if Dawn was right or not. And then she would never have to think about it again. Yep, the non-thinky part sounded good to her.

Of course, in the rational part of her mind, she knew that she should just click off the website and forget that she ever saw the video, but her curiosity got the better of her, and she pressed on the play button before her courage could totally desert her.

Tacky, ‘porn movie’ music immediately blared out of the speakers of her laptop and Buffy winced. She considered turning it off but she was too inquisitive to give in to the voice that warned her nothing good could come from seeing this movie.

The set used in the video was sparse, but no doubt meant to be a cheap apartment. Two girls, a blonde and a brunette, appeared on the screen. They were sitting on the threadbare couch, draped all over each other, kissing with false passion. Buffy snorted out a laugh. This was probably every hot blooded man’s fantasy right there on screen.

When the on-screen duo came up for air, Buffy recognized the blonde girl as Harmony, Spike’s current, sort-of girlfriend. She laughed out loud as she noticed that the girl looked even more slutty than she did in the flesh, decked out in tight leather crotch-less shorts and a sparkly silver bra.

Buffy couldn’t place the denim-clad brunette who was now massaging Harmony’s shoulders, but she was convinced that her boobs had come from the same surgeon as Harmony’s by the looks of things.

A knock on the door interrupted the two girls and the brunette rose from the couch to answer it. Her hips swung from side to side as she walked. Buffy absently thought that no one ever really walked like that in real life.

When the door swung open, it revealed Spike on the other side. Buffy sat up a little straighter at his appearance, her spine rigid with tension and anticipation. He was kitted out in blue coveralls with a tool belt hanging loosely from his slim waist. A cap was perched on his head and he looked every inch the hackneyed porn star actor.

“Well ladies, you called for a plumber,” he said with a pronounced bedroom-voice like molten lava, striding through the open doorway and into the apartment.

The brunette rejoined Harmony, who was now bouncing on the balls of her feet, and draped herself across the blonde’s shoulders. Spike’s heated gaze hit the two girls and they seemed to melt under his stare.

“Oh yes! We really need someone to help with our…plumbing,” Harmony said, in a way that she probably imagined was sexy. She nibbled on her thumbnail and flashed him a bright smile.

“Do you think you can…assist us?” the brunette asked, tossing her curls behind her shoulder, and sticking out her bountiful chest.

Buffy rolled her eyes at the girls’ antics. She could definitely see why they chose porn as a career. The camera flipped back to Spike and Buffy straightened in her seat, unconsciously willing the plot to move on more quickly so she could finally take a peek at his…prowess.

Onscreen, Spike curled his tongue behind his teeth and sauntered over to the two girls with his trademark prowl. He cupped the large bulge that was protruding from his pants.

“Okay girls, I’ll help you with your plumbing,” he said confidently, “as long as you help me clean my pipes.”

“Of course! We’d love to!” the two girls chorused simultaneously.

“Well, I’ve definitely got the tool for it,” he grinned, pulling down his zipper and unleashing his large member.

Buffy licked her lips as she saw the thick cock appear onscreen. It was engorged with blood, almost purple and very angry looking at the head. In spite of her animosity toward him, Buffy wished she could feel something as tasty looking as his dick in her mouth. She immediately blushed a deep red and chastised herself for that kind of thought.

Both of Spike’s onscreen lovers squealed eagerly as he offered his dick to them, sharing the plentiful organ. Within in the next few minutes, all three of them had lost their clothes.

Buffy knew she should stop watching, not least for the fact that this was the worst dialogue that she ever heard, but her hands wouldn’t obey her brain and she remained glued to the movie.

Her eyes grew wider as she watched the trio perform a host of sex acts on each other, each one dirtier and kinkier than the last. She tilted her head to the side as she wondered how some of those things were even humanly possible.

Her own sex life had been relatively vanilla in the past. She had only taken two lovers and neither of them had been particularly interested in her pleasure. With her first love it had been all about slow lovemaking in missionary on the grand total of one times that they had sex. And doing it at the foot of the bed had been adventurous for Riley.

She’d certainly never indulged in anything like what was happening in the movie.

When Spike, Harmony and the nameless brunette shrieked out their climaxes in simultaneous bliss, Buffy’s brain finally seemed to restart and she immediately clicked off the video, huffing out a breath she wasn’t even aware of holding. Her heart was pounding so hard that she could feel it pulsating in her temples. She lifted her fingers to massage her head, but every movement of skin against skin sent a spark through her. The wetness in her panties was undeniable.

God, was it really possible that she’d just gotten turned on by watching her most hated adversary, Spike Pryce, frolicking naked? The moisture between her legs was solid proof that she had and she cursed herself.

The sudden need to scrub herself clean overtook the blonde, and she slammed her laptop shut and rose to her feet.

On shaky legs she made her way into the bathroom, grabbing her bath products from the shelf before kneeling down next to the tub.

Turning on the faucets, Buffy allowed the rush of running water to drown out her discordant thoughts.

Her mind was a jumble, but rather than trying to disentangle her thoughts, it was easier to just ignore them. Buffy had spent her entire life ignoring her problems, so there was no sense in changing tack now.

She poured some vanilla and raspberry scented bubble bath into the tub, focusing on the tiny little bubbles that split the surface of the water.

“Ooh, pretty!” she sighed letting her fingertips absently dance over the rainbow of bubbles.

Inhaling deeply she let the sweet scent of the vanilla fill her lungs and wash away some of her ‘bad thoughts.’ Unfortunately, even the fragrant tang of her bath products increased her arousal and she shook her head, exceptionally upset with herself for getting so badly out of control.

Turning off the faucets, she stripped out of her clothes, dropping them carelessly on the damp tiles of the bathroom floor. She peeled off her bra and panties and added them to the pile before dipping a toe into the steamy water.

Sliding into the heated water, she laid her head back and closed her eyes. At first, she let relaxation overtake her, but soon some unwanted thoughts came knocking at the door to her mind.

The memory of the video she’d just watched came flooding back into her imagination. She couldn’t dampen the slight feeling of jealousy that she felt when she saw Spike fucking Harmony and the brunette in the movie.

Even though she understood that was just part of the job of a porn star, it still niggled at her. And the fact that it did niggle at her went someway to infuriating her.

Because she shouldn’t be feeling any emotion other than contempt when it came to Spike Pryce.

And she definitely shouldn’t be feeling anything in the ballpark of the jealousy genre.

Buffy wondered if she wasn’t just sexually frustrated. That would make more sense than her other ‘jealousy’ theory. Sexual frustration could make people do crazy things, risky things. Things like looking at a man you hated naked just for curiosity’s sake.

However, sexually frustrated or not, she couldn’t deny that Spike’s naked body looked delicious. She also remembered that it felt delicious under her touch too from their scene earlier. The bulge that she’d felt between her thighs sparked a strange bubbling deep in her veins. Tingles stabbed at her and, unable to resist, her hand drifted down to the apex of her thighs and she sighed unconsciously. The warm water was deliciously melting her brain, and she felt her blood start to heat up in her veins.

Languorously, she started to massage the smooth folds of her pussy, tingles radiating outward as her fingers made contact with her most sensitive area.

Her eyes rolled back in her head and she moaned aloud, breathing in the deeply scented air. This time she didn’t try to curb the arousal, but allowed it to be cultivated in the steamy bathroom. The room was filled only with the sounds of splashing water and Buffy’s breathy moans as she touched her fingers to her sensitive nub, circling it with a small amount of pressure.

“Well now, isn’t this a pretty little picture?” a familiar British voice asked.

“Spike!” she shrieked, her eyes darting to his face as he stood smirking in the doorway. She tried to conceal her naked form under the bubbles but the tips of her erect nipples were still peeking through the surface of the water. “How the hell did you get in here?”

“Door was open, love,” he chuckled. “Seemed like an invitation for any ole nasty to get in. Would have thought you might take a bit more care what with being so…exposed.”

He tossed her a wink and she shuddered, unsure whether she was scared, nervous or downright mad. It was impossible to achieve any clarity of thought when he was standing there looking at her with such an intense gleam of lust in his eyes.

He cut a stunning figure standing in the doorway. Lean muscles flexed under the tight cotton of his T-shirt. He moved like a large cat, rippling and flexing as he made his way closer to her. His eyes caressed her naked body in a way that made her simultaneously feel like a goddess and feel debauched.

“Apparently a nasty did get in,” she responded in a hoarse voice, still not moving her hand away from her pussy even though she knew that would be the sensible thing to do. Unfortunately, sensible had gone and jumped out of the window a while ago.

“Not inside yet,” he smiled, his voice dropping a tone or two.

Buffy knew she should have railed against his innuendo, but instead she felt a gush of liquid from between her thighs.

“Do you want to be?” she asked, her memory flashing back to the bad dialogue of Spike’s porn movie.

“There’s nothing I want more than that, pet.”

He fixed her with a heated yet questioning gaze and she nodded almost imperceptibly, drawing a smile from the peroxide blond. Before she could change her mind, he pulled off his tight black T-shirt and unzipped his pants, letting them both fall to the marble floor.

Her eyes were drawn to his naked form and she gasped aloud at the sight. He was perfect, like a pale Greek statue chiseled out of marble. Her breath hitched in her chest as he clambered into the oversized tub with her, and took her in his arms looming over her with passion-filled eyes.

For a moment they stared at each other, and Buffy felt like she was becoming lost in the endless chasm of his azure gaze. Their lips met in a passionate frenzy, tongues and teeth tangling in a battle for dominance.

She moaned as his hand made its way downward, passed the tender nubs of her dusky pink nipples, grazing the underside of her breasts and down the flat expanse of her abdomen. When he finally reached the secret place between her legs, she was more than ready for him. She was already craving him, needing to feel his huge cock inside of her.

His fingers began to tickle her clit more furiously and she could feel her orgasm approaching but before she fell over the edge he paused and smiled at her frustration, like a panther toying with its prey.

“You like what Daddy does to you, baby?” he asked, not expecting an answer. She graced him with a jerky nod nevertheless and drew a smile from him.

“Tell me, Buffy. Tell me you want your Daddy.”

“Oh God!” Her whole body arched with pleasure as he repeated one of the lines of dialogue he used in the movie she’d just watched.

“Say it!”

“I want you, Daddy,” she yelled at him, gripping his engorged dick with her hot hand.

“I need to be inside,” he whispered, biting down on her neck like a vampire. She shivered under his ministrations, mumbling her agreement. She could barely even remember how own name right now.

Smiling at her answer, he positioned himself at her entrance, slowly pushing into her. Buffy gasped at the welcome invasion. His dick was long and thick, hitting her in all the right places. She’d never felt so thoroughly full before and it was delicious.

“Please!” she begged, not quite sure what she was asking for.

However, Spike knew exactly what she needed and he gripped her hips with his strong hands, pulling her closer as he pumped into her.

“You’re a bad little girl, Buffy!” he chided her playfully, speeding up his thrusts. She didn’t deny his words and smiled coyly. Her smile dissolved into a loud moan as his fingers made contact with her clit and the world began to slip away.

“Fuck, I’m so close,” she panted, burying her flushed face in his shoulder.

“Come for me!” he whispered, expertly manipulating her slippery nubbin under is fingers, not pausing in his thrusts, as he deftly played her body like a fiddle.

“Spike!” she hissed as her climax mercilessly slammed into her. Her body shuddered uncontrollably, sending some of the water splashing over the side of the tub.

However, in only moments, the euphoria of her orgasm dissipated and the clammy warmth of Spike’s body dissolved into rapidly cooling bathwater once her quivers subsided. And she knew the truth immediately. His cock was actually her own hand, his fingers were her fingers.

“Fuck!” she swore, her eyes snapping open and reality coming rushing back in a painful torrent.

She was alone.

Of course she was.

A Spike who she could enjoy in such a deeply carnal way couldn’t exist outside of her own twisted little head. It definitely wasn’t as if she wanted to do something like that with the real, non-imaginary Spike.

Absolutely not…probably.

She cursed her imagination, swiftly rising to her feet and stepping out of the tub. She quickly drained the water, watching it swirl away and massaged her temples with shaky fingers.

After her little bath time fantasy, she couldn’t help but feel that her life was taking the same path as the bathwater.

Swirling down the drain.
Chapter End Notes:
Thanks for reading :)
Chapter 5 by Starlight_Slayer
The next day Buffy managed to avoid being around Spike as much as possible. She spent all her free time locked in her dressing room, chatting to Dawn about anything Spike-unrelated, or glued to Giles’ side, which did help with the avoidiness.

Although they had some scenes together, there were no kissing scenes, which meant she could consign the memories of her bathtub fantasy to the little box in her brain labeled ‘Do NOT open… EVER!’

The problem was that her body still wasn’t complying with her brain and after every scene that forced her to be around him she could feel the telltale wetness coating her panties.

Of course, just because she had a minor attraction to him didn’t mean that she liked him. She still maintained her hatred for him exactly as she had before, but it was galling that he was able to play her body like a banjo with just a single look. And he probably didn’t even have any kind of clue that he was actually doing it.

Thankfully she managed to get away relatively unscathed and without any meaningful contact with the bleached actor. With only two more days to go, she was confident that she could now manage to get through this week and then put it behind her forever.

She was relatively confident that she could make it through the rest of eternity without ever picturing a naked Spike again.

Yep that would be easy…right?

On Thursday Buffy started off her day as normal. She was actually a little excited that this job was almost at an end and she couldn’t wait to get out and away from the maw of temptation.

The reporters, as usual, hounded her when she left the hotel to go to the studio, but because it was so common these days she didn’t think anything of that. They were yelling even more questions than usual about Riley at her, but it was her breakup with him that piqued their curiosity to the stalkage level, so that wasn’t too strange.

However, when she walked into the studio she immediately knew that something weird was going on. Several pairs of eyes were staring at her, and whispers rippled through the room. She shifted her posture, suddenly feeling uncomfortable, glad that Giles was at her side.

“What’s going on?” she asked him.

He shook his head. “I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about,” he assured her, although she could tell from his face that he was also picking up on the strange vibes in the room.

“Giles,” she sighed, “everyone’s looking at me like I’ve suddenly grown an extra head.”

He removed his glasses from his face and started to polish them with a cloth he pulled from his pocket. “Really Buffy, I’m sure that it’s nothing to worry about.”

“I hope not.” She had a sudden fear flowing through her that someone had somehow found out about her viewing Spike’s video.

No! They couldn’t know that! Could they?

Giles interrupted her silent freak when he spotted Lindsey standing to the side chatting to one of the runners and excused himself, leaving her standing alone.

Buffy leaned against the wall and surveyed the green room. Most people were gathered around the food table, eating their breakfast.

When she caught sight of Harmony and Spike kissing right next to the table, Buffy grimaced, feeling as if she’d suddenly lost her appetite. Actually, if they kept doing that, she felt like she might lose her breakfast, lunch and dinner too.

She felt even more nauseous when the vapid blonde broke away from Spike and made her way over to her.

“Are you lost?” Buffy asked when Harmony came to a standstill in front of her. Harmony waved a magazine in front of Buffy, but the latter didn’t flinch. Instead she just raised a sardonic eyebrow at the other woman.

“Did anyone ever tell you that you’re really annoying?” Buffy asked.

Harmony just stared at her, giggles wracking her buxom frame. “Oh my God! You’ve not like seen it?”

“Seen what?” Buffy clenched her teeth as the other blonde continued to giggle uncontrollably.

“You’re big news today, Bunny.” Harmony haughtily tossed her hair over her shoulder and grinned smugly. “Your ex has told the whole world how bad you suck in bed. Although I’m guessing you not sucking is like so totally the actual problem.”

Harmony held up the magazine in front of Buffy’s face and Buffy’s world felt like it was falling apart. She felt sickened and horrified, as if someone had just torn her guts from her body and twisted them around her throat.

The actress’ mouth opened and closed like a fish while she stared at the headline: “My Life with a Cold Fish: An exposÚ by Riley Finn.”

A plethora of emotions flooded her all at one. She felt shocked, hurt, betrayed and furious. Part of her wanted to sink to the floor and curl up into a weeping ball of Buffy, while the other part wanted to break something, preferable Riley’s fat head…or maybe Harmony’s smirking face.

“This is the part I like best,” Harmony giggled, clearing her throat regally and adopted a faux news reporter’s voice as she read aloud. “Most nights I tried to get her revved up, but it was like trying to take out a car with no engine. Sure, she’s pretty on the outside, but she’s the coldest fish out there. Any man would be driven to infidelity with someone like Buffy around. Even when she wasn’t frigid, her skills left a lot to be desired and…”

“I don’t want to hear it,” Buffy hissed, cutting off Harmony’s voice and fixing the blonde with a glare. She grabbed the magazine from Harmony’s claws, and skimmed it herself. Her heart contracted with every venomous word she read.

“God Harmony, why don’t you shut your big mouth for once?” Dawn hissed, coming up in support behind Buffy and patting the tiny blonde on her shoulder in a show of solidarity.

“Stay out of it, Pint Size,” Harmony warned the brunette.

“Or what?” Dawn raised a challenging eyebrow at the blonde. “You don’t scare me. You’re too pathetic to scare anyone. Well anyone sane or smart anyway.”

She crossed her arms in front of her chest and tried to stare down the peroxide-challenged woman.

“As if I care about scaring a brat like you,” mocked Harmony. “You’re just another annoying little kid.”

“Don’t talk to her that way,” Buffy yelled, matching Harmony’s glare with one of her own.

“I’ll talk to her however I want to, Cold Fish,” Harmony sneered, noticing the wince on Buffy’s face. “Truth hurts, huh?” Harmony laughed vindictively.

Buffy didn’t know what the other girl had against her but she refused to let her strike a nerve. “The truth?” Buffy snickered. “Like, for example, telling you that you look like a two dollar hooker in that outfit?”

“Hey! I so do not.” Harmony looked offended as she preened her reflection in the glass of the painting on the wall.

“Keep telling yourself that and maybe one day it’ll come true. You’re cheap and nasty.”

“At least I know how to please a man,” Harmony sneered at her in return.

Buffy felt her anger bubbling inside of her. It was like magma, flowing up through her blood and threatening to spill from her. She had to find a way to channel it before she lost control. But a red mist was descending in front of her face and she could focus on nothing but her fury.

Almost as if she’d lost the ability for conscious thought, her fist screwed up into a ball, her eyes focused on the target. Taking a healthy swing back she surged forward, her knuckles connecting with Harmony’s three-thousand dollar nose. Buffy heard the loud crunch of bone as it deformed under her punch. Blood gushed from the damaged appendage, but she all she could do was stare. Harmony crashed to the floor and suddenly the room was in tumult.

“Bitch!” Harmony spat, gripping her nose and staggering to her feet. “I swear to God, I’m totally suing.”

“Just try it,” Buffy warned menacingly.

Harmony cowered away, clearly wanting to avoid another fist to the face. One of the runners came to her side and led the now sobbing blonde away from the scene. Buffy didn’t feel guilty though. That bitch deserved it.

Buffy turned her eyes to Spike, who she expected to start gloating now, as Harmony was otherwise occupied. He’d been standing behind Harmony watching the scene unfold, opening and closing his fists. However, the blond surprised her by flashing a genuinely sympathetic look at her.

For a moment she wondered if he was feeling residual guilt for causing her a similar pain all those years ago, but quickly pushed that idea aside. She couldn’t ever believe that Spike Pryce had a conscience. He was a liar and a scoundrel, so no doubt he had some ulterior motive in not hitting her while she was down. Maybe he just wanted to ensure that his own nose stayed intact.

She didn’t have time to fully analyze his actions right now though. Buffy was too emotional to rationalize anything at that moment in time.

“Good Lord, Buffy! What in God’s name was that?” asked Giles, as he suddenly appeared at her side.

“You don’t know what’s going on?” she asked, massaging her bruised knuckles.

He shook his head and Buffy bent down to retrieve the magazine from the ground. Giles blinked rapidly as she thrust it into his face.

“Did you know about this?” Buffy asked him, holding back the dam of tears that was threatening to burst.

Giles took the magazine from her gently and studied it. His expression grew stormy as he read the poisonous content and he glanced at Lindsey who stood silently next to him.

“That bloody little prat!” Giles exclaimed. “We won’t let him get away with this, Buffy.”

“You didn’t know?” she inquired in a small voice.

“Of course not! I should have known. It’s my business to know, but I’m afraid I’ve failed you in this case, my dear. I assure you, heads will roll for this.”

“Yeah, you should have. I had to find out from Spike Pryce’s little slut! I had to listen to that horrible bitch gloat about it. Do you know what that feels like?”

Giles shook his head. “I wish I’d known. I wouldn’t have let you find out that way if I had any idea.”

“I didn’t know either,” Lindsey assured Buffy, earning him a watery smile of gratitude. “I’m sorry. You still can’t go around punching people on my set though.”

“I know, Lindsey,” she said, hoping she looked a little repentful. Right now, her acting wasn’t at its best though.

“If that girl presses for assault…” Lindsey sighed.

“I don’t think she will,” Giles assured the director. “Harmony Kendal will realize she’s got her comeuppance. I’ll make sure of it.”

Buffy and Lindsey both glanced at him slightly askance, but he didn’t add to his comment.

“And I promise you that we will get to the bottom of this mess with Riley too,” Giles said with conviction.

Buffy nodded, but she felt numb at what had happened. She didn’t understand how Riley could have betrayed her like that…again. It was bad enough catching him with that hooker, but this was like pouring acid into the already gaping wound of their former relationship.

When she first met him on the set of a movie they were making together, he’d seemed like the perfect boyfriend, but it rapidly became apparent that he was totally unequipped to cope with her immense level of fame. He’d spent most of his career making relatively unknown television shows until he found his big break on the silver screen with her.

But it gnawed away at him that he was always playing second fiddle to his more successful woman and quickly became jealous and bitter before finally turning to prostitutes to relieve his anger and resentment toward his girlfriend.

Having become Hollywood’s unlikely First Couple, their breakup rocked the world. Ever since, Buffy found herself at the mercy of the tabloid hounds and it was hard for her to deal with. And now he’d gone and turned up the heat on her, no doubt. How would the press ever let go of this story?

Unfortunately Riley Finn wasn’t the first of her bad choices in boyfriends. Many years ago, when she was less cynical and jaded, she dated a man she thought loved her. However, immediately after they slept together, he told her that his career was more important than being with her and shattered young Buffy’s heart.

And then came her first meeting with Spike. But this definitely wasn’t the time to reminisce about that less than pleasant recollection.

Why did everyone have to hurt her so much?

“Buffy,” Giles’ soothing voice pulled her from her reverie and she glanced up at his sympathetic face. He ran a hand across her cheek, wiping the wetness away from her face and it was only then that she realized she’d started to cry.

Placing a fatherly arm across her shoulder he steered her out of the green room and back to her dressing room where she could find some privacy. She plopped down into a chair, guided by Giles, and readily accepted the glass of cool water that he poured for her. Before she could take a sip of the water, sobs tore through her throat and she collapsed into a heap, only supported by the strong arms of her surrogate father.

“Why do they do it, Giles?” she wept. “Why does every goddamn guy end up acting like an asshole to me?”

“I wish I could answer that, my child,” he said, a slight hitch sounding in his own voice.

“Every single man!” she repeated, before pausing with a furrowed brow. “Well…except for you. But you’re not really a man.”

“Thanks ever so.” He tossed her a wry smile.

“Sorry, Giles. I didn’t mean you’re not a man. I just meant…You know what I meant, right?”

He nodded, holding her even tighter. “Yes, my dear. I know.”

When she finally pulled away from her, she gave an apologetic smile for having cried all over his shirt. He handed her a Kleenex and she began to dry her face properly. Her eyes were all red and puffy and she just hoped that make up could fix that little problem. God, she looked like a wreck.

“Do you feel quite up to working today?” Giles inquired carefully as he surveyed his young charge.

Buffy nodded, still peering at her dull reflection in the mirror. “Yeah. I’ll be okay. Could you just give me five minutes?” He studied her but she flashed him an encouraging smile. “Promise, Giles. Five minutes and I’ll be all upbeato-girl again.”

Giles agreed, still a little worried, and exited the dressing room leaving her alone once again. She laughed dryly at the thought that she was alone again because in truth she was always alone. Sure, she still had her mother back in her hometown of Sunnydale, but she rarely ever saw the older woman. Her schedule didn’t give her enough time to take breaks to visit the woman who gave birth to her.

She also had Giles, but sometimes it felt like there was a barrier between her and her manager. There were parts of her psyche that he would never comprehend, never try to comprehend and so she didn’t share them with anyone. Those were the times when she could have used a real girlfriend, but in Hollywood friendships never seemed to be real. They were all fašades, created for the benefit of the media.

She sighed and wiped over her face one more time, before struggling to her feet. Her body felt weary and she wished away the rest of the day in a moment. Buffy took several calming breaths before leaving the sanctuary of her room.

When she was satisfied that she wasn’t about to burst into tears again, she finally made her way out, planning to head down to makeup to rectify the damage that her weeping had wreaked on her face paint.

As she ambled through the hallways, the sound of raised voices grabbed her attention and she paused, wondering where the sound was coming from. It only took her a moment to realize that the yelling was coming from Spike’s dressing room. She could hardly mistake the sound of his baritone trademark British accent. Against her better judgment, she approached the door and put her ear to the outside.

“You stupid bint!” Buffy heard Spike yell. “That wasn’t your place to go showing her that buggering rubbish.”

“Me? Psycho-Bunny punched me in my face!” Harmony shrieked. Her cry hurt Buffy’s ears even through the door. However, she did find some satisfaction in the nasally quality to the fake-blonde’s voice.

Guess she really did hurt her.

“You deserved it, Harm. Actually you deserved a lot worse than that. You had no business doing it. If she’d bloody well knocked you out, that might have been too good for you.”

A girlish giggle sounded and she knew Harmony wasn’t taking the reprimand seriously. “Oh come on, Blondie Bear. That bitch deserved it.”

‘Blondie Bear?’ Buffy mouthed with disdain, keeping her ear pressed to the door.

“No, she didn’t!” Buffy heard Spike exclaim. “Summers might have a bit of a stick up her arse sometimes but she’s not got a bad heart. You just wanted to be bloody vindictive. I could just about knock your head off right now, Harmony.”

“Uh, so what if I was being vindi-whatever?” Harmony retorted defiantly.

“’So what?’” echoed Spike in disbelief. “You take pleasure out of other people’s pain, Harm. I’m soddin’ well sick of it.”

“You used to do the same,” Harmony said. It sounded like she was pouting and Buffy rolled her eyes again.

“’Used to’ as in not anymore. I changed you silly chit.”

“Blondie Bear!”

Buffy stood staring at the door in abject shock. She couldn’t believe that Spike had just defended her. He’d sided with her over his own girlfriend. It was like she’d just entered bizarro-land where Spike wasn’t actually the world’s biggest asshole and where she suddenly had some of the warm fuzzies about him.

A crash sounded from the other side of the door, jerking Buffy from her reflections, and some more muffled yells assaulted Buffy’s ears. She only managed to catch a few garbled words like ‘chit’, ‘bloody’ and ‘finished.’

“I’m getting the bloody hell out of here, you nasty bint,” he yelled. “Don’t come after me or I might do something I’ll regret!”

The sound of footsteps neared from the other side of the door, and in a panic, Buffy dived around the corner just as Spike stormed out of the dressing room with a sobbing Harmony following behind him like a lost puppy.

Well, at least she wasn’t the only one whose day totally sucked.
Chapter 6 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
Thank you so much for the reviews. They make me happy! :) Here's the next chapter so I hope you all enjoy!
Somehow Buffy managed to get through the rest of the day on a dazed setting of autopilot. She mechanically recited her lines, feeling herself slip into Shell’s persona as the character schemed and deceived.

Buffy sometimes wondered if it wouldn’t be easier just to be evil, like Shell, than it was to be good. And it had felt freakin’ awesome punching that bitch Harmony.

Yeah…maybe evil would be a fun lifestyle change. Except that wasn’t who she was. At her core she was truly a good person and that made her more susceptible to the pain. It lodged inside of her, eating away at her essence until she was just a shell of pain and hurt.

When they finally wrapped up for the day, Buffy heaved a huge sigh of relief and bolted to the sanctuary of the dressing room. She plucked her cell phone from her purse and sent a short text to Giles informing him that she wasn’t heading back to the hotel, but out on her own. She knew that he’d worry about her, but she couldn’t find the energy to care right now.

Anyway, she was a girl on a mission, and that mission was to drink herself into a coma.

Of course, step number one in her mission was getting out of the studio without becoming dog food for the reporter hounds that would no doubt already be baying for her blood outside. Since her break up with Riley, it had been bad, but she just knew it would be even worse from here on out.

Wearing a makeshift disguise of a scarf, cap and sunglasses, Buffy actually found it relatively easy to slip past the throng of waiting paparazzi.

Maybe fate was finally smiling down on her or maybe she just caught a one-time lucky break, but she was nevertheless happy to get away from them. She strode down the street, feeling a little lighter than earlier thanks to the cool breeze whipping in her face.

Being incognito made her feel like some kind of ninja. She decided that the best course of action was to head someplace no one would expect to find her, still taking care to avoid any stragglers among the journalists.

Pleased that she’d managed to make it past any and all of the reporters, she stood outside the seediest looking bar in one of the more squalid neighborhoods in the city. This was exactly the kind of place that no one would ever expect Buffy Summers to frequent. And that was the reason why she was here.

For just one night, she needed to be someone else.

From the outside, her life probably looked like paradise. She had more money than most people dreamed of, worldwide fame and adoration, a successful career and several handsome men in her past. But inside there was something missing. An essential spark was lacking inside of her, but for some reason she felt it rekindling inside of her.

Unfortunately she’d discovered during the past few days that the man who she needed to stay away from at all costs, due to his innate badness and wrongness for her, was also the only man who seemed to hold the key to inciting her passion.

Pulling her hat farther down over her face and checking that her sunglasses were in place, Buffy finally plucked up the courage and entered the bar. It wasn’t very busy inside. There were a few scattered customers, most of who looked like they spent the majority of their lives in there. A leather-clad couple, both covered in piercings and tattoos, were playing a game of pool and quietly arguing about something.

No one even granted her a look as she shuffled over to the bar, slumping down into a stool.

“Rough day?” the barman asked with a friendly smile. “You look like you could use an ear or two to bend.”

The bartender didn’t seem fazed by her disguise. She guessed that a lot of people came in here because they wanted to hide from someone or something.

She peered at him through her darkened glasses, sizing him up, as she did with most people these days. There was no hint of recognition in his open, puppy-dog face, so he wasn’t trying to kiss her ass because she was famous; and he didn’t seem like he was hitting on her. She relaxed her tense posture and nodded.

“It’s just been…one of those days,” she sighed, purposely deepening her voice in case he recognized it.

“Ah! So you’re here to seek out the universal cure-all?” At her questioning look, he clarified. “Alcohol. You want alcohol?”

She smiled. “God, yes!”

“So what can I get for you?” He ran a meaty hand through his messy, dark curls.

“What’s good?” she asked. Buffy had never been a big drinker, mostly because she was terrified of doing something stupid in front of the paparazzi and ending up face-down, ass-up on the cover of some cheap gossip rag. However, after the day she’d been having, something like that could only be an improvement.

“Well,” the bartender said, thoughtfully, “when I feel like you look, I usually go with the wonder that is tequila.”

Buffy blanched slightly at the thought of tequila, but she was in a throwing caution to the wind kind of mood, so she nodded.

“Rack ‘em up, barkeep,” she drawled, feeling a little better already.

He obliged, passing her a glass and a bottle of tequila, before filling the glass with the liquid and placing the bottle down on the bar.

“Leave the bottle,” she said to him, the set of her lips showing that she was serious, and he nodded.

“Not a problem, darlin’,” he said, grinning at her when she handed him a fifty for his troubles. “Well hello Mr. Grant.”

Still beaming, he tossed her a final wink before retreating to serve someone else on the other side of the bar, leaving her finally alone.

Keeping her head down, she removed the sunglasses from her face and massaged her eyes gently with her thumbs. It was dark enough inside the bar that her baseball cap offered enough protection from curious gazes, and her eyes were aching from all the crying she did earlier.

Peering at the amber liquid, Buffy slammed three shots back without a break, sticking out her tongue in disgust as the rancid flavor of the drink attacked her taste buds.

She felt her body start to relax immediately as soon as the alcohol began to work its magic on her body. Buffy wasn’t a big drinker at all.

The last time she really drank had been at a pre-awards party several years earlier and that had ended in a huge verbal catfight between Buffy and rival actress Cordelia Chase.

Throwing another shot down her throat, she killed that unhappy memory. Oh well, one unhappy memory down, eight million five hundred and twenty thousand to go.

“Now, now, now. I wouldn’t have pegged you for the drinking alone sort of chit. Or the shots sort of chit.”

Buffy spun around to search for the source of the voice, quickly realizing her mistake as a wave of dizziness swept over her. However, the dizziness didn’t compare to the nausea that settled in the pit of her stomach when she encountered the smirking face of Spike Pryce leering at her.

Apparently she’d managed to escape the reporter hounds, but a snake had still gone and found her. A shiver coursed down her spine as he stared at her and she wanted to run or hide. Or maybe punch him in the face. She was getting good at that.

“What the hell are you doing here?” she asked coldly, flashing him her best glare.

Spike chuckled. “Seems to me it’s a free country, Goldilocks.” He settled himself on the barstool next to her, his smirk widening when she glowered meanly at him.

“Don’t you have another country to be in?”

“Why would I want to be anywhere else, when my being here pisses you off so bloody royally?” he chuckled, his laughter only strengthening when she narrowed her slightly glazed green eyes at him.

“If you go somewhere else, you might have a chance of getting laid,” she replied coldly, feeling the alcohol loosening her tongue already. “We all know that’s the one thing you’re good at.”

“Pity you’ll never know just how good,” he smirked, ignoring her glare. He shrugged. “Anyway, maybe I prefer to spend my time with a…hmm…what’s the word? ‘Cold fish?’”

Buffy’s hands balled up into small fists and she wanted to punch him right in the nose and watch the blood cascade down his smug face. It was only the memory of her thwarted attempt at doing exactly that earlier in the week that prevented her. Instead she swallowed back the hurt from his words and leveled him with a steely glare.

“Oh, come on, Spike! Cut the bullshit.” The alcohol imbued her with bravado she would never normally have felt. “As much of an asswipe as you are, you could probably deceive any half-witted, vapid bimbo to go home with you. So, truth time! Why the fuck are you sitting here with me?”

Spike sighed, pilfering one of her shots and knocking it back without paying attention to her halfhearted protest. His posture softened and his eyes glazed slightly as he stared at her.

“I just thought…I thought you might need some company,” he said, almost shyly, his demeanor changing from the arrogant one she was so used to.

Her eyes snapped up to study him and she was shocked to see the way his cheeks reddened at his admission.

“Yeah, well you’re always around when I’m miserable,” she huffed, turning back to her drinks. “How the hell did you find me anyway? Are you sure you’re not stalking me?”

Because she wasn’t looking at him, she totally missed the slightly guilty look that flashed over his face. By the time she was looking at him again, he had managed to school his face into disinterested indifference.

“Got a bit of a high opinion of yourself to even think you’re stalk-worthy, pet,” he said with a slight bite to his voice.

“I’m way more stalk-worthy than you, Mister,” she retorted primly.

“What? You think any girl could truly resist my manly good looks?” he asked with a slight chuckle.

“I think they belonged to Billy Idol first,” she responded with an almost playful smile. “Actually, he called and wanted them back. Until he realized the 80s is over.”

“Hey!” Spike tossed her a frown. “You said it yourself before. I’m irresistible.”

“More like incorrigible,” she huffed under her breath, but Spike caught it and laughed even more heartily.

“Swallowed a dictionary, Summers?” he asked mockingly.

“I don’t need a dictionary to find words to describe you, Spike. Somehow insults just roll off my tongue when I picture your face. And I know you’re definitely not irresistible. See, I’m sitting here all resist-y.”

“Picture my face, huh? Do that a lot, Summers?”

“Eww! You wish.”

He chuckled. “Maybe I do wish. You know, if you ever saw one of my movies, you’d be well and truly in the ‘irresistible’ camp, pet,” he drawled, voice thick and rich as molten chocolate.

Buffy unconsciously shivered as she recalled the movie of Spike’s that she watched, and her subsequent solo activities. Her skin flushed with a red blush of embarrassment and the actress was just glad that it was too dark in the bar for Spike to notice.

Breaking his probing gaze, she poured herself another shot of tequila and knocked it back, grimacing as the burn seared the back of her throat. It was like liquid fire inside of her, heating her up, melting her senses.

“Wanna be careful with those, pet,” he warned. “Wouldn’t want to let yourself get out of control would you?”

“Oh, I’m sorry I think you’re confusing me with someone whose life is actually your business,” she replied with a calm timbre to her voice. However, Spike could already hear the almost imperceptible slur in her speech, and he figured that the full effects of the beverages she’d already consumed hadn’t even properly hit her yet.

“Maybe I’m making it my business.” He shrugged.

“If you want to take care of my business then order me another drink. I think I’m done with the tequila hype.” Buffy scowled at the bottle and it seemed to glare back at her with equal contempt.

She blinked rapidly.

“What do you want, pet?” Spike inquired without resistance. He knew better than to argue with a woman like Buffy at the best of times, never mind when she was inebriated.

And maybe drunk-Buffy would be more fun than stick-up-her-ass sober-Buffy.

“Rum and D.C. You’re paying.”

Spike clicked his fingers to summon the barman over and ordered a whiskey for himself and some rum and diet coke for Buffy.

He huffed as he warily eyed the barman when he saw the lusty way that the brunet was studying Buffy. The beautiful blonde was blissfully unaware of the dark haired man’s obvious attraction but Spike was tempted to tear his throat out with reckless abandon.

“Thanks ever so,” he said less than sincerely to the brunet. “You can bugger off now.”

The dark haired man looked a little offended but clearly didn’t want to start a fight with the mean looking, tipsy punk.

“Here you go, Goldilocks.” Spike handed her drink to her and she sipped leisurely at it.

“Mmm,” she hummed, savoring the taste. “Soooo good!”

“Keep on making noises like that and I might think you’re after something a little more than just a bloody drink.”

Buffy giggled, feeling the alcohol well and truly working its magic on her system. She turned to Spike and winked at him.

“Maybe I do want something…more,” she whispered.

“Yeah?” He cocked his head to the side and studied the tiny girl in front of him.

She didn’t stand at more than 5’3 and her frame was incredibly slight, yet her presence seemed to fill the room, like a light shining into a black void of darkness. Her head was concealed with a cap but he could see the blonde strands of her hair peeking out from underneath like liquid sunlight.

She leaned forward and placed her hand on his thigh, laughing as he shook slightly under her touch. “I really really really might want something more.”

He inhaled sharply as he caught sight of the look in her eyes. “What might that be, Kitten?”

“Maybe I want one night of passion with a man that can drive me freakin’ wild.” She tilted her head as she heard his breathing become ragged and saw the bulge emerging from under the thick denim of his jeans.

“What if I said I know a man who could oblige every bloody little whim?”

She grinned. “You know a guy that can make me wet with just a look before he makes my body all tingly with his hands and with his mouth?” Buffy asked with exaggerated innocence.

“Gah! I…uh…bloody hell!” Spike was never usually lost for words. He prided himself on being the epitome of suave, but Buffy seemed to have stolen his voice. He hand was creeping up his thigh and his brain had done a disconnecting act.

“Tell me Spike. Do you think I might be the kind of girl who wants a rough fuck that just never seems to quit.”

“Buffy…do you…?”

“Maybe,” she giggled, but her laughter stopped almost as soon as it began. Her face morphed into revulsion and she removed her hand from him, wiping her palm on her pants. “But not from you Spike.” Her face twisted in disgust. “It’d never be you. I don’t fuck liars.”
Chapter 7 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
Thank you for all the reviews! And here's the next chapter. Flashbacks are in italics.
I don’t fuck liars

The words echoed in his head, hitting every corner of his mind like shrapnel.

He paled in shock as soon as he heard them come out of her mouth in spite of the fact that he knew he deserved them. It didn’t take a genius to work out exactly what she was referring to.

He’d hurt the girl and now he was getting his comeuppance. If he had a time machine he could go back and change his actions all those years ago but that just wasn’t possible. And it seemed that she wasn’t prepared to let him make amends.

He watched in slow motion as she unsteadily rose to her feet, placing her oversized dark glasses back onto her pointy nose.

“I gotta get out of here,” she mumbled, trying exaggeratedly to stay upright.

“Wait!” he called, torn between tackling her to the ground and dropping to his knees to beg. “Don’t go!”

“Why should I stay?” she sneered at him. “Well? I can’t just sit here with you like we’re some kind of talking buddies when we both know that we hate each other.”

“I don’t hate you, Buffy.”

“Right, ‘cause you’ve always acted so unhate-y.”

“I’m a wanker,” he admitted. “But there’s worse out there than me and if you wander out in this neighborhood in that state then you’re sure to meet them.”

Even though the alcohol was clouding her brain, Buffy could see the logic in his words.

Her instincts were still telling her to run but she didn’t want to end up hanging like a week old chicken on some crazy dude’s meat-hook so she reluctantly sat back down, making sure to glare at Spike as hard as she could when she pulled her sunglasses off.

During the next few minutes an uncomfortable silence descended between the pair of them, as they continued to sip on their drinks. They each ordered a refill but still sat in silence together, guzzling their boozy concoctions.

Without warning Buffy suddenly spun around with a flourish to face her companion. A peculiar look was etched on her face, and he felt like he was under scrutiny.

“I have something to ashk you,” she said, her voice turning serious, or as serious as a tipsy Buffy could sound when there was a pronounced slur in her voice. “I want an anshwer, Spike.”

He nodded. He didn’t know what she was going to say, but his heart still clenched in fear, especially considering her earlier jibe at him. He hoped she wasn’t going to bring up the past. But if she did he was prepared to take it like a man.

“Ask away, Buffy.”

“Why did you say…what you said?” she inquired, placing her drink down on the bar. Every word was becoming progressively difficult to understand and it took him a moment to figure out her question.

He looked at her with bewilderment. The mind of Buffy Summers was a rocky road to navigate at the best of times, but when it was clouded with alcohol, trying to understand her could be compared to attempting to climb Mount Everest on rollerblades.

“What’re you talking about, pet?” he asked.

“You know!” she exclaimed, clearly expecting him to actually know.

“’Fraid I don’t have a bloody clue. ‘What I said’ could refer to bloody anything.”

She rolled her eyes, convinced that he was just stalling her. “Why did you s-say that shtuff to Glory?”

He’d been prepared for something like that and yet the question was so unexpected that Spike almost choked on his mouthful of whiskey. He knew she was probably still sore about his behavior all those years ago, but believed it would be the last thing she wanted to discuss with him.

No matter how many indirect references Buffy Summers made to their past, she was, in her own words, ‘avoidy girl’ when it came to intimate discussions of matters of the heart. For her to broach a subject like that seemed so uncharacteristic.

Apparently all the Dutch courage translated into real courage for this feisty girl.

Or maybe he just didn’t know her as well as he thought he did.

“Well?” she prompted when he gave no response except for a slightly guilty grimace. “You went on that show and behaved all…assholish. What did I do to…to de-desherve that? I thought you cared about me and then…You betrayed me, Spike.”

“Can’t really explain it, pet,” he told her, suddenly desperate for a cigarette. He fiddled with his glass and drummed the fingers of his other hand on the bar to take his mind off of his craving.

Of course, it wasn’t true at all, that he couldn’t explain it. He knew exactly why he’d said it. He’d said it to hurt her, because he was wounded too.

He shouldn’t have done it, he knew that. He’d held her trust in his palm and crushed it.

More than once.

The irony was that it had all started out so well. If he’d known that very first time they met that it would end with him acting like asshole of the year maybe he would have done something different. Maybe he would have been honest, or just held his tongue.

She glanced to him, their gazes locking and her mind was suddenly thrust back to when she was a fresh faced eighteen year old, not yet quite so jaded by the world or Hollywood life.

Staring at Spike, she knew he was thinking back to the same fateful day of their first meeting, more than six years earlier.

Buffy stood alone as always, watching the rest of the partygoers enjoying themselves. Most people were wasted beyond belief and she was bored already. Hanging out with a bunch of drunk, high people wasn’t exactly her idea of a good time.

It wasn’t that she thought she was better than anyone else. It was just that she was bored of all the superficial wannabes that cluttered up the Hollywood scene these days.

She glanced around the room at the throbbing mass of people. Some were dancing, grinding up against each other as they drunkenly made out on the makeshift dance floor. Others were huddled together at a table, razor blades chopping rocks and dollar bills stuffed up their noses. The rest were in deep conversations with each other…probably about themselves.

She noticed Faith Lehane and Cordelia Chase, two of Hollywood’s rising hopefuls, slutting it up together on the dance floor. Their bodies were flush against each other as they pulsed together, their sweat mingling and pooling in the hollows of her chest.

Buffy glanced away, trying desperately to hide the distaste on her face.

Ugh, why was she even here? Well, publicity of course, but right now she felt like she would gladly forego the extra publicity of being seen at one of the city’s hottest parties for a cup of hot chocolate and a weepy chick flick.

She just wasn’t interested in doing any of the stuff that everyone else seemed to be into. Okay, maybe she would have liked to dance but no one seemed to want to ask her. Maybe they were intimidated by her? And to make matters worse, everyone seemed to be paired off with each other already and she was all undate-y.

In fairness, Buffy wasn’t even sure if she was ready to date again. She was still smarting from being dumped by her last boyfriend, Angel, who she happened to love more than life itself. After dating for a whole year he suddenly decided she was getting in the way of his career. He believed that girls wanted to see him single and only that would help maximize his popularity.

Actually, Buffy thought he probably just wanted to fuck around with some of those fan-girls.

Asshole.

She knew that Angel missage was a huge part of the reason that she was acting like bad-moody Buffy. Any girl who’s recently been dumped isn’t going to be overjoyed to see all the fun everyone else is having when she just wants to burst into tears every five minutes.

Her thoughts were interrupted when a bleached blond with luminous blue eyes and razor-sharp cheekbones to die for sauntered up to her and treated her to an exaggerated smirk.

The man in front of her was tremendously striking and she felt herself involuntarily blushing under his heated gaze. Her heart was already pounding a steady rhythm in her chest and he hadn’t even said a word yet!

His eyes seemed to burn into hers as he raised them to her face and she shivered under his heated gaze. Apparently he liked what he saw because a small grin turned up the corners of his perfectly shaped mouth.

“Do I know you?” Buffy asked trying to sound as nonchalant as possible and twirling a strand of hair around her fingers and she studied the man in front of her. Inside her chest, her heart was already pounding a merry tattoo on her soul.

He smiled. “Name’s Spike,” he told her in a baritone British accent. His voice immediately gave her delicious goosebumps and she returned his smile.

She raised one perfectly shaped eyebrow at him. “That’s a name?”

He scoffed, clearly not having expected her to criticize his name. “Says
Buffy?!”

“Hey! Don’t you rag on my name!” She paused, chewing on a lip. “How do you know my name anyway?”

“You’re a star love. Everywhere.” He smirked when her shoulder subconsciously raised a little. “Even a lowly actor like me knows you.”

“You’re an actor?” Suddenly she perked up, her body language changing. Apparently it made a big difference to be an actor and not just a fan to this girl.

“I am.” He nodded and leaned one arm against the wall. “Not even close to your standard though, Princess.”

She giggled girlishly at the term of endearment and tilted her head, licking her lips as her eyes slid down over his bulging biceps.

“What kind of standard are you?” she asked flirtatiously.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” A grin spread over his face and he leaned in to her. “Maybe later I could…show you.”

She shuddered involuntarily. Even during her relationship with Angel, no one had made her react so…intensely. His deep blue eyes were boring into her and she suddenly felt totally naked in front of him. In moments he’d managed to strip away layers that no other man had even succeeded in chipping.

Their eyes locked and she felt herself instinctively drawn to him. He was the flame and she was a helpless moth. It didn’t matter that they’d just met. She was attracted to him, and she was young and free. Why shouldn’t she enjoy herself?

Their faces drew closer, so close that she could smell the earthy cologne and cigarette smoke on him.

They were only inches away from each other when their moment was unfortunately interrupted by an intrusive coughing.

She glanced at the man standing behind Spike and sighed. Damn Giles always sending a chaperone to escort her home after parties. Buffy was eighteen years old now, not eight! And the stupid guy was supposed to just wait outside for her instead of coming charging in like a crazed bull.

The shortish man was standing with his arms crossed and Buffy rolled her eyes.

“Uh, Ms. Summers. We have to leave now,” the chaperone told her sternly, tapping his finger on his watch. “It’s after midnight and you have an appointment with Mr. Giles in the morning. Perhaps you can say goodbye to your…friend here and meet me in the car.”

Buffy nodded wearily and the chaperone’s gaze flitted disapprovingly to Spike before he walked away. Apparently peroxide blonde hair, guy-liner and leather were not on the approved list of attributes that a potential Buffy-boyfriend could possess.

She was pretty sure that Giles had made an actual list.

The actress rolled her eyes and flashed Spike an apologetic look. “Sorry. I guess we’re not meant to get that moment tonight.”

“Always other nights, pet,” he smiled. “Like…tomorrow night for example. I can pick you up. That is, if you’re allowed out without a bloody minder.”

“Of course I am!” she huffed, unconsciously echoing her earlier thoughts. “I’m eighteen, not eight.”

His eyes traveled down her body and he nodded approvingly. “Oh I can tell you’re all woman, love. So tomorrow then?”

“Definitely.”

Before Mr. Chaperone could come back and physically remove her from the party, Buffy and Spike exchanged numbers. She gave him the address of the hotel where she was staying and he promised to pick her up the next evening.

“Until tomorrow, Cinderella.” He kissed her gently on her tiny hand before waving as he melted into the crowd, coat billowing behind him, and out of her sight.

She felt a small fluttering in the pit of her stomach, and a tiny smile crept onto her face. After the heartbreak of her relationship with Angel, she’d given up on relationships. But maybe this bad-boy blond was different. Okay, the bad boy thing wasn’t exactly an asset, but she couldn’t deny that the James Dean meets Fonzie vibe definitely heightened his cuteness.

And it was possible that he was a crunchy outer shell with a soft center. Her mouth watered at that thought.

Lost in her own thoughts, she made her way out of the party to the waiting escort car, already immersed in fantasies of just how their date would go.


The blondes’ gazes locked as they were pulled back to the present. The low chatter of the bar seemed to suddenly flood their ears once again and they sighed in tandem. They both knew it could have gone differently after that. It would have unfolded in some other way if their actions hadn’t taken such a destructive path.

Okay if Spike’s actions hadn’t taken such a destructive path then maybe things wouldn’t have ended up so bitter between them. But he didn’t think Buffy was blameless either. Maybe if she’d been more understanding then…

Anyway, it was in the past now and things couldn’t be changed now. They were set in the stone of history.

But Buffy couldn’t look back at those memories without remembering the hurt she endured afterward. And Spike couldn’t reminisce without the sharp pain of regret at his actions that ensued.

“You weren’t the firsht one,” she confided, her nose scrunching up as a memory struck her.

“The first what, love?”

“The firsht one to hurrr…hurt me.” She scrubbed at her face with a shaky hand. “Firsht one to do that was that bashtard, Ange…Angel.”

“Angel O’Connor?” Spike stared at her with surprise. He vaguely remembered the two of them sharing some kind of angsty teen romance several years ago. It had been plastered all over the gossip columns. But he didn’t imagine that she would still hold a candle for him. “You still fancy him, pet?”

Buffy shook her head. “Hell no! Not now. But he broke my heart. Made me realize…it’sh not worth…and then you lied to me after. And you said those things to Glory! Ugh!” Buffy groaned, clasping her hands to her abdomen. “I don’t feel sho hot.”

“You look hot.” He grinned, curling his tongue behind his teeth in a way that would make sober-Buffy want to punch him in the face, but made drunk-Buffy want to lick him from head to toe.

“You’re an asssh,” she slurred. “But totally hot too.”

“I’m hot huh? So you’re hot…and I’m hot…What should we do about that?”

He grinned, closing in on the sweet smelling blonde and nuzzling her neck. Inside he was deeply thankful that they’d moved on from the recriminations about what he did to her. Even though he was well aware that he deserved them, flirting with the girl was definitely more fun.

He guessed she’d hit that point of drunkenness where she just quit caring and she didn’t push him away, in spite of her earlier harsh words. He could feel a slight tension in her muscles, but he wasn’t sure whether that was just due to the fact she was trying to stay upright. Whatever the reason, it was like heaven to be this close to her.

Her perfume was filling his senses and clouding his head. Or maybe that was just Eau de Buffy. Whatever it was, it smelled divine.

The only downside to her sudden change in behavior was that he knew she was wasted from all the drinks she’d imbibed. She wouldn’t be letting him nuzzle her neck right now if she wasn’t ninety percent alcohol to ten percent blood. But Spike wasn’t the kind of man who pretended to have morals about something like that. If he could get Buffy, even for a night, he’d jump on that opportunity like the greedy kid at a pie eating contest.

Hadn’t he spent all those years fantasizing about doing exactly that?

She leaned toward him, opening her mouth as if she was going to say something. However, her balance wasn’t at its best and she tumbled forward, only narrowly avoiding ending up on the ground thanks to the fact that Spike’s strong arms banded around her.

“Come on, Princess, I’ll walk you back to the hotel.”

“I can walk my-shelf…um self! Myshelf.” Buffy slurred, trying to maintain her dignity as she slithered off the stool. “Shit!”

“Too many nasties out there wanting to eat succulent little girls like you,” he whispered in her ear, deftly stepping back when she lashed out at him with a giggle.

Spike’s eyes danced with affection as he watched her clumsy movements. She was adorable, a hard outer layer with a caramel center that could just melt in his mouth like a tiny slither of paradise. It seemed that alcohol had the ability to drown out the ‘bitch’ part of her, and Spike’s heart was warming to the girl even more with every passing moment.

Of course it helped that she had been the center of most of his thoughts for the past six years. Not that she knew that fact, and even if she did she probably wouldn’t believe it.

As she drunkenly stumbled forward while still trying to successfully dismount the stool, Spike caught her and wrapped his arms around her middle. The near-fall took her breath away, and she froze in his arms. His thumbs were in contact with the bare skin of her waist and it felt strange, like prickles of electricity searing her delicate flesh.

Their eyes locked together and Buffy wasn’t sure whether to balk or wrap her body around his. He was a temptation being dangled in front of her and, as with any temptation, it would be so easy just to give in to those oh-so kissable lips. The fuzziness of her mind stopped any of her usual inhibitions from affecting her.

“I…um…” Buffy breathed softly. “Oh God!”

She lunged forward as she felt the bile well up in her throat. At that moment she didn’t care that she was about to toss her cookies in front of the man who she despised ninety percent of the time. She couldn’t help herself.

Spike’s face twisted in concern as he rubbed her back. He knew she would be mortified about spewing her guts in the middle of a bar if she was sober but he figured she probably wouldn’t even remember this in the morning.

So for those few moments he just stood next to the sick girl, holding her ponytail back as she puked up in front of him.

Not exactly Spike’s idea of romance. But any time that he got to spend with Buffy was worth it.

No matter what they were doing.
Chapter 8 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
Thanks for all the reviews! Flashbacks are in italics.
“Feeling any better?” Spike asked the haggard looking girl sitting across from him. He grimaced under the harsh lights of the Doublemeat Palace and felt a flash of envy as he wished he had Buffy’s dark glasses to conceal his own weary eyes.

He wasn’t quite sure how they even ended up in there. After Buffy finished her spectacular show in the bar he’d intended to walk her back the hotel but when he saw she couldn’t even walk in a straight line it had quickly become apparent that stopping for coffee was definitely the way to go.

Her head whipped up and she looked at him dazedly. “Um, huh?”

“Feeling better now, pet?”

“I guess. I’m still feeling kinda…woozy.”

“That’s what drinking’ll do for you, pet.”

“Says you.”

“Ah, see I know what drinking can do because I do it all the time.” He flashed her an arrogant smirk that caused the bile to bubble up within her once again.

“Yay! Another thing to add to the Spike Pryce list of craptastic achievements: ‘Alcoholic extraordinaire.’”

He chuckled. “Don’t much think you’re in a position to talk right now, Summers. You’re still drunk as the day is long.”

“Nuh uh!” She shook her head vehemently. “I’m totally undrunk right now.”

“Right…” he responded, cocking his head to the side in a way that made it abundantly clear he was merely humoring her.

“Hey, it’s true!”

“Well Ms. Undrunk, I think it’s time to get you all warm and snuggly in your little bed, safe from the big bads.”

“Oh my God! You are so not getting into my bed!”

“Never said I wanted to,” he sneered nastily and looked away to conceal his hurt at the fervor behind her words.

Keeping his eyes firmly fixed to anything that wasn’t Buffy, Spike rose fluidly to his feet and made his way to the door, not even waiting to ensure that the blonde was following.

If he looked at her in that moment, he knew he would either say something he’d later regret or burst into tears. Neither would put him in a favorable light. Although most of the time it seemed like nothing could ever show him in a good light when it came to Miss Buffy Anne Summers.

And there was that familiar surge of painful anger again.

Instead of giving in to his need to spit venom, cry or even hit something he settled for barreling out of the harshly lit fast food joint into the comforting semi-darkness, with a still unsteady Buffy hot on his heels.

“Wait up!” she called, scampering after him.

The clammy night did nothing to calm his temper but he struggled with it quietly as they padded down the street together.

Together and yet so far apart.

Buffy sipped on her cup of coffee as they ambled along in silence, Spike allowing her to stay a pace or two ahead. The combination of the nighttime breeze and the caffeine was clearing her head a little bit. She was still slightly muddled with the haze of alcohol but believed that things were getting clearer now.

What Buffy didn’t understand was that she was actually still drunk as hell. She might have felt a little more sober but her blood was still crammed with booze and her head was as cottony as a box of Q-tips.

She glanced uncomfortably at Spike, who was studiously avoiding looking at her. A sliver of sadness shone through her hazy head but she slammed the door on that sorrow. It was better to never care what Spike did or didn’t do.

Getting involved with Spike at all only led down the path to badness.

And didn’t she know exactly that from past experience?

Despite the sense of uncomfortability, or maybe because of it, there was something very ‘date-y’ about this whole ambience. It reminded her a little of their first date, six years ago. Except that had been way less awkward.

Buffy stared at herself excitedly in the mirror. She was overjoyed with the results of the entire day’s pampering.

Her long blonde hair was curled into waves that cascaded over her shoulders like liquid gold. A ruby jeweled barrette adorned one side of her hair, pulling it back slightly from her face.

She had bought a new dress for the date too. The deep red chiffon of the gown hung perfectly over her subtle curves, clinging in all the right places. It really toned with her deep summer tan too. The outfit was completed with a pair of matching kitten heels, with straps that wound around her ankles giving them an ethereal look.

For once she felt like a woman and not just movie studio chattel.

She knew that tonight was going to be the best night ever!

Unfortunately one hour later and it was turning out to be less than the best. Actually a splinter of anger was festering in her stomach due to its badness. Mostly because he date had arrived late and then barely even looked at her as he ushered her into his beat up old car.

And of course, Spike’s tardiness set the atmosphere for the rest of the night. That atmosphere being a slightly distracted Spike and a very bad-moody Buffy.

When he had finally arrived at her hotel, he hadn’t even bothered to compliment her on her immaculate outfit, hair and makeup which seriously deflated her mood. Buffy felt like she was a balloon that had been popped with a pin. He’d seemed distant, like he was only half there and the main part of him was somewhere else.

At least he held the door for her when they entered the trendy French bistro that he’d chosen. They sat in silence in the beautiful restaurant, Buffy pretending to focus on her menu and Spike staring off into space.

Finally, she just couldn’t take anymore and slammed her menu down on the table, startling Spike and garnering several nasty glares from her fellow diners.

“I’m going to the restroom,” she announced, not even waiting for a response at she stormed away from the table.

When she entered the empty bathroom, she sighed and slumped against the sinks. What the hell was Spike’s problem? He was the one who’d asked her out on this damn date and now he was acting like she didn’t even exist. The man had barely spoken except for the occasional grunt.

Ugh men!

She huffed and kicked the wall, making a small dent in the plaster. “Oops,” she sighed, hoping no one would ever notice it.

Sheepishly, she jogged out of the bathroom, making her way back to the table and slipping down into her seat.

“I’m back,” she said, trying to sound as happy as she could.

“Yeah,” Spike nodded and turned his attention back to his menu as if it was the most scintillating thing he’d ever had the pleasure of reading.

Anger boiled in her veins. If he was going to keep on acting this way, then she was done with him.

“Okay, what’s with the spaceman act?” she asked, clearly mad as hell.

“Hmm?” He blinked and looked up at her blankly which only added to her frustration.

“You! You’re acting like you don’t wanna be here.” Spike didn’t respond and Buffy felt like someone had punched her in the gut. “I guess this whole date was just a stupid mistake.”

She went to stand but felt a strong hand lock around her wrist and pull her down into her seat. Buffy plopped back down with a little bump.

“I’m sorry,” Spike said, blinking rapidly as if he was just waking up from a nap. “I…I had to deal with a load bollocks today that I really didn’t need. I shouldn’t have brought bloody shite out with me on our date. I know I’ve been distracted and I’m sorry. From now on I promise you have every last little bit of my attention. Okay?”

Buffy looked doubtful and chewed on her lip, but Spike really did look repentful, not to mention adorable with those puppy dog eyes. It wasn’t like Buffy didn’t understand how things could prey on your mind at times too. She went through that ordeal on a daily basis.

The corners of her mouth turned up. “Okay,” she agreed.

“I want you to enjoy yourself, love,” he continued, a slight expression of guilt flickering across his countenance. “I suppose I’ve already gone and buggered it up.”

“No,” Buffy consoled him. “It’s not ‘buggered’.

He smiled at her use of his terminology and reached across the table to grab her hand. “What say we get out of this stuffy place and find something more…fun to do?” His voice had dropped an octave and washed over her like molasses, thick and sticky.

“What kind of…fun?” She gulped as his eyes bored into her like lasers.

“Depends on what the lady wants to do.” His thumb was making gentle circles on the back of her hand now and she couldn’t think. She had a major case of brain freeze, probably because her blood was on a southerly course right now.

“I…uh…dancing!”

“Dancing?” He grinned. “Baby, you know I’d love to…dance with you.”

She slapped him playfully with her free hand and rolled her eyes. “Not that kind of dancing, Spike. I mean real dancing.”

“Is it the kind where I get to grind up against your tight little body?” he inquired hopefully, a twinkle dancing in his eyes.

Buffy tilted her head and smiled. “Maybe.”

As it turned out, Spike wasn’t kidding when he implied he wanted to grind. The man was grinding like she’d never experienced before.

He’d taken her to one of Los Angeles’ hottest clubs, keeping hold of her hand during the ride over and even when they exited the car. If any other man had held her so possessively she was pretty sure she would have gotten pissed. But with Spike it felt natural.

It felt right.

And she couldn’t deny that was more a little bit scary, especially after her experiences with her previous boyfriend. Angel had broken her heart, but a tiny fleck of hope sparked within her that Spike could piece it back together again.

Right now she didn’t want to think about any of that anyway. She was having way too much fun.

All she wanted to do was to enjoy the feel of Spike’s lean, muscular frame flush against her tiny body. His hands were placed gently low on her hips, skimming the top of her butt. Periodically his hands wandered a little lower eliciting the most delicious sensations.

Moisture was already pooling in her panties and she was helpless to do anything but give in to her ever increasing lustiness.

The beat of the music seared through them making them become one pulsating entity as they moved together in perfect harmony. It was unlike anything she’d ever experienced before.

It was heaven.

Neither of them seemed to notice the time passing because they were so thoroughly absorbed in each other. Spike lowered his lips to the juncture of her neck and shoulder and let his tongue lick a trail across her milky skin. Buffy quivered helplessly under his passionate ministrations. The blond bit down gently on the sinewy flesh and Buffy bucked in his arms.

“Like that?” he whispered and Buffy nodded.

He moved his attentions to earlobe and began to worry the sensitive piece of skin.

“Oh God,” gasped Buffy. “What are you doing to me?”

“Driving you wild, I hope,” he retorted. Buffy could practically hear the arrogance dripping from his voice but strangely it didn’t bother her. Maybe because it was justified based on the feelings he was drawing from her. There was a tightness in the pit of her stomach already that usually only occurred after an hour with her battery operated little friend, Mr. Pointy.

He was driving her wild but frustratingly he didn’t move his hands to any of the other erogenous zones which were begging for his attention. Spike knew how deliciously he was teasing and torturing in her and it stoked the blazing furnace of his male pride.

When the music began to wind down and the other people started to leave, Buffy and Spike still clung to each other, her hands twined around his neck and her breasts pushed against his chest.

Finally Spike raised his head from hers and gazed into her eyes. “Probably time for us to bugger off, pet.”

Buffy’s head whipped up to look around and she realized with a start that everyone was leaving. “Oh my God!” she exclaimed. “How long have we been here? And did we miss an apocalypse?”

He chuckled, low and deep. “You’d distract anyone from the apocalypse, love.”

“Now you’re just trying to charm me.”

“Is it working?”

“Maybe,” giggled Buffy.

Neither of the pair of new lovers noticed the pair of chocolate eyes that narrowed as their owner watched the blonds.

They arrived back at Buffy’s hotel with neither of them wanting the date to end. Spike decided right then and there that he would have happily stayed by her side forever.

But all good things come to an end and nothing is more delicious than to end them with a kiss.

The empty hotel hallway was silent except for the two of them and the silence was so thick that it was almost a tangible entity. It made her heart beat as she stared into the azure eyes in front of her. They were so expressive and she could tell that the kiss was coming.

She knew it but the anticipation of it didn’t prepare her for the reality.

The moment that their lips met it was like a spark exploded inside of her. Every single cell illuminated with a newfound vivacity and it seared through her like an endless current.

His tongue fluttered against the seam of her lips and she parted them to grant him access to the warm, wet cavity of her mouth. Their tongues tangled tirelessly together and she couldn’t hold back the moan when his hands slithered down to her ass and he pulled her even closer.

She could feel the large bulge in his pants digging into her hip and smirked against his lips. By no means was Buffy any kind of sex kitten, but she wasn’t an idiot either. She wanted to tease him, make him crave her the same way she was craving him.

Most of all she wanted the sexual power over him that she hadn’t gotten with Angel.

Pushing closer to him she ground her hips into the pulsating bulge of his cock and felt a rush of womanly pride when he moaned into her mouth. They continued to kiss and it grew deeper and more intense. It was like they were drowning in each other.

Finally running out of air, they pulled apart, still gasping for breath.

“Can I come in?” he asked, eyes flicking toward the door of her hotel room. He didn’t move away from her and she could feel the heat of his body seeping through his clothes into her own, already overheated body.

Suddenly fear slammed into Buffy. Spike wanted to come in to her room and she knew that would inevitably lead to sex. The last time she had sex with a man, her morning after had entailed getting well and truly dumped on her skinny little butt. For Buffy Summers sex never equaled anything remotely of the good.

“I…uh…no!”

He looked at her with hurt written all over his perfectly chiseled face. “Why not?”

“I have to go…wash my hair.”

“I see. Your hair’s so bloody dirty that you need to wash it at 2am.”

“Right.” Her skin reddened and she tried to wiggle out from under Spike’s hold, but he blocked her escape with a strategically placed arm.

“What’s the problem here, love? You’re all over me like a soddin’ rash one minute and the next you’re cold as ice. Giving me mixed signals right now, pet.” He leaned closer so his pouty lips were almost touching the velvety shell of her ear. “You don’t want to tease the beast, Goldilocks. It’ll bring out the demon in me.”

Buffy shivered and pushed him away. “I’m just not ready for…that. It’s not about you and I did have fun tonight but I can’t do that yet. Please understand?”

Her eyes implored him to really hear what she was saying. It wasn’t that she didn’t want him, because she did. But she wasn’t emotionally ready to give into her urges. He’d forgotten she was so young. So innocent. This girl wasn’t as jaded as he was to the ways of the world.

He sighed and let his shoulders slump. Every inch of his body radiated disappointment but Buffy could see that he’d accepted her decision. “Alright Kitten, we’ll do it your way. But you’re coming out with me again tomorrow night. And that’s not up for discussion.”

She smiled shyly at him and nodded. “As long as you agree to do the chick flick thing tomorrow.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “That’s a deal then. If you agree to one more kiss.” She raised an eyebrow. “Come on, pet. One more for the road.”

With a smile she happily obliged him, snuggling into his chest when his arms banded around her. Her face tilted up and when their lips met it was like a reprise of the electric current flowing between the both of them. It confirmed she hadn’t imagined the sensation the first time they kissed.

She really had never felt like this before. This was the start of something wonderful.

She just knew it.


“We’re here.” Spike put a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Buffy?”

Buffy blinked several times to clear her thoughts. She hadn’t even realized that they’d arrived at her hotel. Everything was still a little fuzzy and she inhaled deeply to try to clear her head.

She allowed him to open the door for her and glided through it, feeling as if she was floating. It was the strangest feeling. They headed toward the rooms and elevators through the lobby, Buffy feeling once again grateful for her dark glasses against the glare of the harsh lights. They made their way through the doors into the deserted corridor where the elevators were.

“So, I guess this is it,” he said, gazing at the woman in front of him. The walk had done her some good and her eyes seemed clearer and more alert now.

“I guess so,” she agreed, feeling a little awkward. The date-y feeling came rushing back with a vengeance, and as horrifying as that thought should have been it was actually not so bad. “I can make my own way up to my room.”

“Right you are.” He stuffed his hands awkwardly into his pockets, pulling his coat over the perpetual hard-on that he seemed to sport around Buffy Summers.

“Will you be okay walking back to your hotel?” Buffy asked, not sure why she even cared.

“This is my hotel,” he informed her. At her look of confusion he clarified. “Studios booked me in here too. Sure my room’s probably not a patch on yours but it does for a bloke like me.”

“Oh, so we’re kinda roomies,” she quipped, averting her eyes when he raised an eyebrow.

“I guess so,” he said leeringly. “We could be even more than that if you wanted to try it out sometime.”

He was so close to her again. When did he get that close? And he was looking at her expectantly as if he was waiting for something. What was he waiting for? Hadn’t he once convinced the world that she had nothing to offer in a sensual sense?

Suddenly she was filled with the need to prove everyone wrong.

She wanted to prove that what Spike had told Glory about her all those years ago after things went bad between them was garbage. She needed to show him that Riley’s assertions about her being ‘frigid’ and ‘a cold fish’ were nothing more than the bitter rantings of a jilted lover.

But more than anything she wanted to prove to herself that she was in fact desirable. It was an innate need springing up in her and she was powerless to do anything but give in to it.

She tore her dark glasses from her face and opened up her gaze, allowing him to come impossibly closer. So close now, they were practically touching.

He was so tempted to crush their bodies together and take her right there in the corridor. But he could still smell the tequila on her and that alone stopped him from surrendering to his basal needs.

“How about if I wanna try it out now?” she asked beguilingly.

Spike didn’t have the kind of morals that prevented him from taking advantage of a drunken girl. He’d indulged in that little treat more than once during his unscrupulous life. But after spending the evening with Buffy he knew for sure that there had to be more between them from her end than drunken horniness.

He knew for sure how he felt about her and he didn’t want to take second best. Spike wanted to show her how he’d changed.

But she was making it damn difficult to hold out. Spike wasn’t a saint after all.

Spike shook his head, trying not to look at her soft curves and big dewy eyes. He couldn’t allow himself to take her to bed. Not now, this wasn’t the right time. “Buffy, you’re still drunk,” he said, moving back a step.

“Not drunk now.” At his disbelieving look she acquiesced. “Okay maybe a teeny bit drunk, but I know I want this. Don’t you want to see I’m not the ‘Ice Queen’ you thought I was?”

Her smile grew wider when he flinched at her choice of words.

Buffy was a girl on an alcohol fueled mission. Right now she didn’t actually care if he wanted to see or not whether she was really an ‘Ice Queen’. She needed to prove to him that she wasn’t.

Maybe if she’d done this on their first ever date then things would have been different…No, he would still have been a liar. But at least he wouldn’t have hurt her the way he did afterward.

What Spike didn’t realize was that when Buffy Summers wanted something she usually got it. Repeating her question, she looked at him sadly, “Don’t you want me, Spike?”

“Of course I want you, want this, but I want you to be here with me when we…when we do this. God, Buffy I want you more than I need oxygen to breathe or water to drink. I thought maybe I could just take whatever you’re willing to give me. But I want it all. I want you with me.”

His words left her a little fazed but she quickly recovered, easily covering her shock at his revelation. She smiled and sighed, reaching out to cup his face with a delicate hand. “I’m here with you, Spike.”

The problem was that Buffy wasn’t quite sure that her words were the absolute truth.

But with the amount of alcohol that was still flowing through her system, it didn’t seem to matter anymore.

As he gazed at the beautiful young woman in front of him, Spike was torn. He knew that he wanted her but he didn’t believe she wasn’t still feeling the effects of the tequila, despite puking her guts up less than an hour earlier. But she was telling him that she wanted him and that she felt what he felt.

This could only end with his heart being shattered, he realized that.

He knew he should walk away but the sincerity in her gaze was too much for Spike. Maybe he was just seeing what he wanted to see but he couldn’t help himself. He’d waited so long for a chance like this and he would never forgive himself if he refused this opportunity to spend the night with the woman he loved.

Stepping forward and reaching for her, he pulled her to him. He tangled his hands in her hair and roughly dragged her lips to his. She tasted of coffee and mints and he wanted to fill himself with her flavor, savoring it like the finest wine.

“We should take this somewhere more private,” she whispered, not removing her lips from his.

“Yeah. My room’s closer,” he mumbled against her lips and she nodded in agreement.

With their lips locked together even more tightly, they stumbled into the elevator, ignoring the glare of an elderly couple as they pressed up and grinding against each other as if they were performing the mating dance of two soon to be rutting beasts.

When they finally hit Spike’s floor after what seemed like an eternity of anticipation, they barreled out of the small elevator and down the hallway, staggering into Spike’s hotel suite and letting the door slam behind them.

Spike Pryce had kissed a lot of women in his time, but none of them could hold a candle to Buffy.

The feel of her silky lips against his was heavenly and when she moaned into the kiss, he felt his lower regions become impossibly harder. He took the opportunity to work his tongue between her parted lips, commencing duel with her own.

“I want to taste you,” he murmured, drawing his head back and nibbling a trail down the sensitive skin of her collarbone.

“T-taste me?” she stammered, flustered at his request.

“I want to taste your pussy,” he told her huskily. “I want to let my tongue delve into those beautiful, silky folds of yours. I want to suck on your little pearl until you shriek and sob underneath me. And when you finally can’t take anymore, I want you to let it all go so I can drink down the precious nectar of your honey.”

“Oh!” she hissed, almost climaxing from his words alone.

“Can I taste you, Buffy? Will you let me in?”

Not trusting herself to form anymore words she allowed him to steer her to the bed and lay her down.

Peeling off her outer clothes, Spike uncovered the treasures hidden below. Her ripe breasts slipped out of her bra and into his waiting hands. Neither of them noticed the discarded bra drift to the ground as his hands engulfed the milky bosoms. The blond couldn’t help but notice how perfectly they fitted into his palms.

He lowered his head to her chest and licked each nipple gently, smiling at her moan. His lips puckered around each ruby nub and he grazed them with his teeth, one after the other until she was a sweaty gibbering mess.

Making his way down her body he drew a line with his tongue over her stomach, tasting the salt from her perspiration, pausing only to briefly dip it into her bellybutton. Another shiver wracked her and he placed his hands on her thighs to keep her from wriggling away.

He wanted her to give in. He needed her to feel this, to allow herself to feel this.

Finally he reached her panty covered mound. The small scrap of lace was the only garment left on her body and Spike’s mouth watered at the thought of what lay beneath it.

“W-what are you doing?” Buffy gasped as he started to pull them down her legs. The nerves bled through her voice and he sighed, supposing she was going to halt his fun.

“I already told you,” he replied. “I’m going to taste you.”

Before she could comment or protest her panties were totally gone and his fingers were tracing a line down her wet slit. Spike wasn’t surprised to see that she was totally hairless. Her velvet folds were glistening in the dim lamplight. The soft pink flesh looked deliciously appetizing.

Torturously slow, his tongue traced the same path as his fingers had taken and Buffy gasped out a long moan. He didn’t want this to be over fast, instead wishing to draw it out.

His tongue wriggled over her plump lips and into her pink hole. The girl’s panting increasing even more, encouraging Spike to go faster and deeper. However, he studiously avoided touching her swollen clitoris just yet.

That was a delight he wanted to savor in a little while.

Buffy’s juices were readily flowing from her distended cunt. Her mind was a whirl of feelings, like a tidal wave sweeping her away from reality.

The ebb and flow of sensations that Spike was causing in her body almost seemed like they would become too much. She actually wondered if they would overwhelm her until she ceased to exist as anything but a mass of sensitized nerve endings that the blond porn star knew how to play like a fiddle.

His mouth and fingers deftly manipulated her pussy but there was the slight sense of frustration as he didn’t touch her exactly where she needed.

Her clit was throbbing and she needed his mouth there but he was deriving too much pleasure from teasing her to surrender to her imploring whines and moans.

“Please,” she mumbled. “Please Spike!”

His tongue paused and his eyes whipped up to her face. “Please ‘what’, Buffy?”

“You know what!”

“I don’t, pet.” He grinned. “You need to tell me what you want.”

Buffy flushed deeply, a tremendous feat when she was already flustered from the onslaught of pleasure. “I need you to…lick me.”

“Already am, pet.” He gave her a long deep lick against her hole to demonstrate.

Buffy shuddered. “No, on my…you know!”

Taking pity on the girl, Spike sighed. “You want me to suck on your pretty little clitty?”

“Please, Spike.”

“Beg me,” he ordered her.

“W-what?” she stammered. “I won’t beg!”

He spread her lips wider apart and his tongue licked a tantalizing path around her silky nubbin, purposely avoiding where she wanted him the most. Buffy tried her best to hump his mouth but she was failing badly and she knew it.

Swallowing her pride she turned darkened eyes to her lover. “Please! I need you.” Buffy paused and gulped as he poised his lips over her clit. “I’m begging you!”

Flashing her a triumphant grin he dove back into his task, pulling her engorged clitoris between his lips and sucking deeply on the sensitive nub. With a combination of licks and nibbles he drew her closer and closer to the rapturous bliss of her orgasm. He feasted on the wet flesh as if it was the best meal he’d ever tasted. Actually, the sweet taste of her honey made him believe it might have been the very best.

When the climax finally hit her, it was like nothing she’d ever felt before. An explosion of lights popped wildly behind her closed eyelids and whipped through her veins. Her screams reverberated off the walls, wracking her body as she bucked violently off the bed. Spike was forced to pull his head back to avoid being knocked unconscious by the wild motions of her hips.

When her trembling settled down Spike tenderly kissed the soft skin of her inner thighs and surged up her body, ready to finally be inside of her and…

Oh!

Buffy’s eyes were closed and her breathing had evened out. Spike chuckled wryly at the fact that he’d exhausted her enough for her to actually pass out.

He felt a tiny pang of disappointment but nevertheless he smiled sweetly at the girl who was now lightly snoring on his pillow. Her hair was spread out around her like an angel’s halo. She was quite possibly the most beautiful thing he ever saw.

Lying down next to her, he pulled the unresisting blonde into his arms and rested her head on his chest. Unconsciously, she snuggled into his touch, her hand finding its rest just above his heart.

Spike placed a tender kiss on the top of her head and closed his eyes. Although her sudden journey into the land of nod had left him sexually unsatisfied, his heart had never felt more satisfied. With her in his arms he didn’t need anything more.

When he finally drifted off into a deep sleep, neither of the slumbering pair were aware of Spike’s murmured declaration of love.
Chapter End Notes:
I hope everyone enjoyed the little smutty teaser and the rest of the chapter too. :)
Chapter 9 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
Thank you so much to everyone for the reviews! They help keep me going. And also thank you to everyone who's still reading this story. Hopefully everyone is still enjoying it.

Here's the next chapter. :)
Buffy opened her eyes, feeling sore yet satisfied. She stretched languidly before her eyes drifted open. Beams of sunlight were trickling through the edges of the closed drapes but the room was mostly shrouded in darkness and so it took Buffy a moment to acclimatize herself to her surroundings. Somehow this didn’t feel like the bed she’d grown used to sleeping in since arriving back in Los Angeles.

A hard body was lying curled up next to her and for a moment she felt a little confused. She glanced to her left and her eyes almost popped out of their sockets when she saw the blond man slumbering peacefully. One arm was flung back behind his head and the sheets had ridden down leaving his chest fully exposed. Beneath the thin cotton of the sheet she could see the outline of a very excited part of his anatomy and all her instincts urged her to scramble away.

Naked Spike was in her bed. Or wait, no he wasn’t. She was in his bed. Ugh, semantics were so not important right now! The problem at hand was that they were in bed together. Her head swam with absolute bewilderment for a minute. Until a plethora of disjointed images came rushing back to her.

She’d gone to some sketchy bar, gotten drunk, spit up on Spike shoes, and oh yeah…possibly had sex with the man she hated most in the world.

Okay, this was not of the good. Actually it was on a different continent to good.

Desperately she tried to sort through her recollections to piece together exactly what happened.

The last thing she remembered was him going down on her, which had felt totally amazing. Actually it was the kind of bliss that even her wildest fantasies didn’t touch on. But it was with Spike, which was ooky and creepy and everything bad all wrapped up a package of wigsome.

Just when she thought things couldn’t get worse, she lifted the sheet. Peeking under the covers, she soaked in her naked form.

Oh God! Naked in bed with Spike Pryce was definitely not of the good. Especially when she couldn’t actually recall exactly what happened with him.

Despite her memory lapse she was sure that sex had followed Spike’s one-man feast, because let’s be honest, this was Spike she was dealing with. Unfortunately her lack of clothing also confirmed her worst fears of Spike-sex.

And now she couldn’t even remember the possibly mind blowing and yet totally depraved lovin’ that they may or may not have had but probably did have because this was Spike Pryce and she was pretty sure he didn’t relinquish the chance to stick in it whenever he got the chance.

This was the exact reason that Buffy and booze were so unmixy. Even her mind was babbling now!

She glanced back to her onetime lover and sighed. It was amazing just how innocent he could look when he was sleeping. All the guile and snark drained out of him leaving just the boy behind. A smile touched the edge of her lips as that thought flitted through her brain. Maybe if he was so sweet when he was awake then she could actually learn to like him.

Oh God! That was not a good trail of thought to pursue.

Suddenly feeling the need to freak the hell out, she bolted upright, torn between tears and fury. Unluckily, sitting up also made her aware of the stark pounding in her head and the nausea in her gut.

Struggling to her feet with one hand clasped to her clammy forehead she embarked on a clothes hunt finding them strewn across the room. Periodically Buffy glanced at a still sleeping Spike while she haphazardly gathered up her clothes. Apparently he slept like the dead. She was unable to locate her underwear and eventually gave up.

For once Buffy didn’t really care about looking her best. She felt like regurgitated dog food, so she wasn’t too worried about looking like the movie star she actually was right now. Throwing on her clothes with careless abandon, she headed toward the door.

Of course, nothing was ever simple for Buffy, including escaping after a night of potentially steamy but very wrong sex and she bumped into the side table only inches from the door, a small crash echoing in the room.

Clasping her injured knee and biting her tongue to stop herself from crying out in pain, her eyes whipped to Spike, who turned onto his side at the disturbance.

For several moments she kept her eyes glued to him, holding her breath for fear of waking him, while willing away the pain. However, his eyes didn’t open and he smacked his lips together and settled back into rest. Without waiting another moment, Buffy scampered from the room.

When Buffy finally arrived at the studios that morning, she was more than two hours late. The blonde was decked out in black jeans and a black sweater. A huge pair of sunglasses sat perched on her nose and a cap was pulled down over her eyes. Even with all those accoutrements, she still looked drained. Her face was pale and pinched, like a map detailing her transgressions of the previous night.

It didn’t help that the cab driver was apparently Los Angeles’ most jovial soul. He seemed intent on sharing his entire family history with the hung-over girl and, as caring a person as she was, she just couldn’t find it in herself to be interested in this stranger. On the upside, at least she’d managed to slip past the reporters again. She smiled to herself as she realized she was getting pretty wily. Just a few more times and she was pretty sure she’d be ready for ninja training.

Hey, maybe if she was a ninja then she’d be able to ninja-ly avoid Spike Pryce and his penis too. Of course she’d also have to avoid his magical tongue, which could only be a good thing. And maybe if she repeated that fact to herself then it would eventually become reality.

Her head pounded harder. In fact, she was pretty sure that she could actually hear a little rattle in her brain now.

Stepping out of the cab, she flashed her I.D. card to the security guard before hurrying inside to her dressing room. She was hoping that she wouldn’t have to encounter Giles.

Her manager had been calling her cell phone all morning but she had steadfastly been ignoring his calls. A guilty voice kept reminding her how disappointed in her he would be if he knew what she’d done with Spike and she was convinced that as soon as she saw her he would sense it. She also wasn’t eagerly anticipating the tongue lashing that she was positive her manager would dish out for her overnight disappearance.

And now was so not the time to start thinking about any tongue belonging to a British man. Particularly if that man was a peroxided former porn star with oral skills that would slay even the coldest of women.

Bad Buffy!

As bad luck would have it, Giles was waiting inside her dressing room with a stormy expression plastered on his face. Buffy shrank back when he glared at her the moment she closed the door. For a second she considered bolting but there was no point. The blonde would have to face the music eventually.

“Where the hell have you been?” he asked, unusually harshly. Giles had gotten mad at her before but the bite in his voice cut clean through her flesh.

“Giles, please don’t start,” she pleaded, padding over to the desk and sinking down into a chair. Her manager was unusually unshaven and looked like he hadn’t gotten much sleep.

She pulled her hat and glasses off in order to inspect the damage done by her mammoth drinking binge in the mirror. It was actually worse than she envisaged. Her eyes were swollen with dark bags underlining them. She looked as if she’d been on some kind of month long drugs binge.

Catching sight of her looks, Giles gasped.

“What the bloody hell happened to you?” he demanded, his voice filled with both concern and anger. “I came to your room and you didn’t answer the door. I called your phone and you didn’t pick up. I thought you were lying in a bloody gutter somewhere. I was about an hour away from calling the police. What happened?”

“Some tequila kicked my ass,” she responded flatly, sticking out her furry tongue before grimacing again.

“You were drinking? Good God, Buffy, what were you possibly thinking?”

“I wasn’t thinking, Giles,” she sighed. “I was upset and depressed that my whole cold as a wet fish sex life was splayed all over the television and magazines. And hey! Who gets to tell me about it but vapido-girl Harmony? So yeah, I had a couple too many drinks, but it’s my life and if I wanna do it, then why shouldn’t I? Adult here, remember? Maybe I’ll just drink myself to death next time so I can avoid you going all lecture-y on me.”

She pouted indignantly at him, and his face instantly softened. That Summers’ pout could melt many a male heart.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t mean to get angry at you, but I was terribly worried. When I couldn’t reach you, I was merely concerned for your wellbeing. You’re not just a charge to me, Buffy. You’re a daughter too.”

Feeling tears stinging her eyes, Buffy blinked rapidly. She rose from her seat and launched herself into the arms of a startled Giles.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

That was exactly the kind of reassurance she needed right now. She’d felt so dirty when she woke up, as if she was tainted on the inside because of what she did the previous night.

Sleeping with someone she hated was not high on the Buffy-list of acceptable things to do, especially when what she could remember of that sex turned out to be of the mind-blowing genre.

But even though Giles was clueless about her indiscretion with Spike he loved her and it warmed her heart.

Pulling away, he gently stroked her hair like a father would if he was comforting a sad child.

“You’re running late,” he told her gently. “You’d better get yourself into makeup.”

She nodded, glancing at her tousled reflection one more time, before heading out of the room. Buffy was glad that the meeting with Giles had gone better than expected. She’d thought he would be furious about her little stint being MIA, but he’d calmed quickly.

Now there was just one more person that she wished she could avoid today. Spike. As hard as she was trying not to think about the night before, that mission was proving impossible. The annoying blond was like a virus that had burrowed its way deep inside of her, and every time she tried to purge it from her system it simply mutated into something else.

During the course of the time she’d known him her thoughts about him had ricocheted between being hateful, pitiful, angry and lust-bunnyish. It didn’t make sense because no one else ever provoked feelings like that from her.

And then last night there had been something else too…another layer…another depth. She didn’t want to admit it, even to herself, but she had felt a connection with him as they gazed into each other’s eyes. She couldn’t remember much but she could remember pulling back from his deceptively soft lips and being pulled into the magnetized azure ocean of his gaze.

It was something that transcended their carnal connection. Not something tangible, but something more…ethereal.

More than anything Buffy wished that she hadn’t felt that particular feeling, because if it had just been meaningless then maybe she would have gotten him out of her system by now.

And that brought her right back to the avoid-y idea.

Unfortunately, considering the fact that the script of Murder Most Strange demanded they lock lips again today, avoiding him was a little to the left of the wrong side of impossible.

With a heavy heart, Buffy stepped into makeup for her hopefully miraculous makeover.

Almost an hour later, Buffy finally stepped out again, feeling more human again. Thankfully, she looked a little better after going through the expert hands of the resident makeup artist. However, even though her outward appearance had improved, her insides still felt like they’d been put through a grinder.

With every step she took heading down to the set, her head was pounding a merry tune and she silently swore to herself once again that no drop of alcohol would ever find its way past her lips in the future.

Fortunately Spike looked just as bad as she felt. His red-rimmed eyes were puffy and swollen, almost as if he’d been crying. Even the wonders of stage makeup hadn’t been able to conceal that disturbing little morsel of information. It was lucky that the character he was playing was similarly heartbroken.

What was it that they said about life mimicking art?

As she drank in his disheveled appearance, she felt a twinge of guilt about just running out on him, but made a mental effort to reassure herself she had actually done the right thing.

He approached her warily, studying her from the far side of the room for a moment before padding over to her. As soon as he got within ten feet the whiff of booze assaulted her nostrils and she gagged slightly.

Her stomach was already sensitive, so smelling more alcohol wasn’t exactly helpful. Buffy frowned as she realized the stench was too strong to just be left over alcohol from last night, and wondered if he’d been drinking this morning too.

“Hello, Buffy,” he said gently, his face impassive.

“Spike,” she said as politely as she could. All her instincts were pleading with her to flee, but she dampened them down and gifted him as polite a smile as she could muster.

“You were gone this morning when I woke up.” The wistful sorrow in his tone tugged at her heart but she dampened that emotion down.

“I thought it was for the best.” Buffy looked away, focusing her dewy eyes on anything but Spike.

He took a deep breath and tried to catch her eyes, but she kept them on the ground, purposely avoiding locking eyes with the peroxide blond. “We need to talk, love.”

Her heart jumped painfully in her chest at his words. That was exactly what she’d been hoping to avoid. She didn’t want to talk to Spike. In fact, out of all the things that she could do right now, talking with him would be right at the bottom of the list. Actually it wouldn’t even be on the list at all. It would have its own special list for things that she never wanted to do…ever.

“We have nothing to say,” she told him sternly, glancing around to ensure that no one was paying attention to their conversation. Luckily everyone else was going about their own business without caring about the blond pair.

“We have a lot to say,” he insisted through gritted teeth, grabbing a hold of her dainty wrist.

She shook his hold off of her and leveled the most menacing look at him that she could. “No, Spike. There’s nothing to say. Last night was a mistake, okay? It shouldn’t have happened so let’s just forget about it and pretend that it never existed.”

He scoffed at her words, clearly disbelieving of her sincerity. “Never existed? You can’t tell me you really believe that load of bollocks you’re spouting.”

“I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe it. We can’t have…” She glanced around and lowered her voice. “…sex again. Ever, Spike.”

Shocked at her words, Spike’s eyes widened. So the little princess thought they’d fucked! Well wasn’t that an unexpected twist? Not that he was surprised. She’d been well and truly pickled in tequila the previous night so it made sense that there would be gaps in her memory.

He was torn between a slight slither of pride that she assumed he was such a stallion his charms would inevitably have lured her into bed so that he could take her body to new heights of carnal bliss, and offense that she wouldn’t realize she would vividly recall such an earthshaking event.

Of course, he should tell her that they didn’t actually round fourth base but the little demon on his shoulder prodded him toward the dark side. If she really didn’t remember what happened, then he wasn’t going to enlighten her any time soon.

In fact…maybe he could have a little fun with this. It couldn’t compound his heartbreak anymore and maybe making her suffer would make him feel better. And there was always the possibility that it would make her want to do it again and fill in those little voids in her recollections.

Yes, he was sure this plan would work one way or another.

He sucked in his cheeks and made eye contact with her. “Last night we made magic together! I shagged you into the blood ground, love. That’s not the kind of thing you consign to the annals of history.”

At her eye roll, he sighed, half enjoying her discomfort and half feeling hurt at her continuing rejection. Even if it was a lie that they actually slept together, they still did things. Things that would no doubt disgust and offend her delicate sensibilities. He probably shouldn’t tell her that he didn’t think he would ever forget the delicious tang of her pussy though if he didn’t want a punch to the nose.

“What part of never do you not understand?” Buffy asked, exasperated.

“The ‘never’ part! It deserves a re-run. Hell Buffy, what we shared last night was so good it should go into bloody syndication. I made you pussy sing so loudly she reached notes she didn’t even know existed.”

Buffy reddened and squeezed her thighs together. She felt new moisture dampen her panties and willed away her renewed arousal. “So what if we had…sex…that was…okay?” She actually felt a small pang of regret once again. Only this time, it was not because they had sex, but because she didn’t recall the having of it.

“Okay?!” he yelled, totally offended by her words. “It was the best you ever had, you vindictive bird!”

All of a sudden, it didn’t matter that there was no actual sex. So what if all he did was go down on her? That alone was more than okay. He made her pass out from the pleasure and he was betting that didn’t happen to this vanilla girl often.

His outburst garnered a few curious glances from other members of the cast and crew and Buffy clenched her fists, feeling the urge to put a fist through his face creep up on her once again.

Being around Spike really wasn’t good for her blood pressure.

However, this time she was determined to be mature rather than acting like Neanderthal-Buffy. Instead of resorting to violence, she grabbed a hold of the cuff of his sweater and dragged him out into the hallway, not slowing her pace until they reached her dressing room. He followed her like a good puppy.

When they were finally alone in the privacy of her private room, she swallowed audibly. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to be alone together in such close proximity. Especially when she could just lean forward and take the tiniest nibble out of that neck and then…

No!

She chastised herself, reminding the bad-Buffy part of her that there would be no nibbling. There would be no anything with the annoying blond porn star.

Smoothing down non-existent creases in her top, she opened her mouth to talk. “It doesn’t make a difference if it was the best sex ever or the suckiest sex in history, Spike. You and me…we don’t fit together.” She held up a hand to stop him from interrupting. “You need to be with someone who’s like you. Someone like…Harmony.”

Was she kidding? It really didn’t matter that they didn’t actually have sex now. This was so far beyond the point, that the point wasn’t even visible on the horizon anymore. She was rejecting him, telling him he should be with Harmony of all people! How could she imagine he’d truly want to be with a moron like his platinum blonde former pornographic co-star?

“Harmony?!” His stunned face almost drew a hysteria-induced giggle from Buffy but she chewed on her lip to stop it from bubbling forth.

“She’s more your kind of girl. She comes from the same world that you come from.” And hadn’t Buffy seen firsthand evidence of that fact? She reddened but her flush went unnoticed by a livid Spike.

“Whereas you’re so much better than me,” he spat distastefully. He’d flushed such an angry shade of crimson that Buffy thought steam might come rushing out of his ears at any moment. Adopting a falsetto voice, he raised his nose to the heavens. “Oh! I’m Buffy! Everyone loves me because I’m just so perfect and I could never possibly do anything wrong. I couldn’t possibly be with someone who doesn’t fit my oh so high standards! Why, you ask? Because that stick in my arse is ten feet long and I just can’t seem to extract it.”

Buffy glared at him. “Okay firstly, I so do not talk that way. And second? I didn’t say I was better,” she said wryly, “but now that you mention it…”

This time he was the one to still her words with a wave of his hand. “We’re equals, love. Yin and yang, you know? And it’s over with Harm, anyway. We’re over and done with. She’s nothing compared to you, love.” He paused, seemingly weighing his words. “Last night, I felt a connection with you.”

A connection? She looked at him like he’d finally lost the last threads of his already questionable sanity.

“No!” Buffy denied, internally flinching at his mention of a connection.

The fact that they’d both felt that intangible bond didn’t bode well for her capability of getting out of this union with her heart unscathed.

“Yes, Buffy. And it’s more than the little flush on your cheeks when you get close to a climax. More than those little gasps and moans that escape when your pussy gushes with your juices. It’s something I’ve never felt before, something special and wonderful. It’s not the kind of connection you find often. You can trust me on that one, love.”

His eyes were such a deep shade of blue that they almost looked black. Buffy knew she could have gotten lost in those eyes if she allowed herself that luxury.

A sob broke from her lips. “Spike, I can’t…”

“I’ve fucked a lot of women, and I mean a lot, and fucking them didn’t compare to just holding you in my arms.”

Her eyes narrowed as she jerked back to reality. For a moment she’d been lulled into a false sense of safety. Trust the blond menace to give her a much needed reminder of what he actually was.

“You’re a pig, Spike,” she replied, disregarding the pang of jealousy that nagged at her when she thought of him with a harem of other girls ready to attend to his every whim. “If you think that telling me the history of your conquests is the way to win my heart, then you really need to rethink your wooing technique.”

“I don’t need to bloody woo you.”

“Right! You don’t need to woo me. In fact, you don’t need to anything me! You just need to leave me alone. Last night was a onetime thing.”

“Are you kidding? A onetime thing? My bloody fingers and tongue made you scream and beg for more, pet. One time with me will never be enough for you. Don’t deny it! You felt it too! You’ll want more from me, pet. You’ll want to find out how my cock feels buried deep inside your pretty little quim.”

She wrinkled her nose in disgust at his words. Although there was truth to what he said, he didn’t have to be so crude about it. His vulgar language only managed to remind her of who and what he was. She couldn’t allow herself to be with someone like him.

Even if she didn’t hate him, he wasn’t right for her. She meant it when she said he would be better off with someone from his own world than pursuing her. If they continued down the path that last night had set them on, she could only envisage it ending badly…for the both of them.

Then something else hit her. He’d said that she would want to find out how his cock feels. Suddenly she was suffused with anger as the ramifications of that statement sunk in. The reason she didn’t remember the sex was because there hadn’t been any. He’d lied to her. Again.

“Spike,” she said coldly. “Did we actually have sex last night?”

He faltered for only a moment before his arrogant smirk settled back in place. “How else would I know what you look like when you come?” His voice lowered to a sensual whisper. “How could I tell you that your pussy contracts like a vice if we didn’t shag?”

“I know we did…something.” Buffy gulped and dug her nails into her palms to push down that recollection. “But was there actual sex? Or did you lie to me about that?”

“W-well I wouldn’t call it lying.” Guilt sprouted all over his face. “I just didn’t exactly tell you the truth.”

“Oh my God!” Buffy flung her hands up, covering her face. She couldn’t bear to look at him right now. “You made me think we slept together.”

“Well technically…”

“Holy crap, Spike! How could you do this to me? How could you make me think that we had sex?”

“Hey, don’t you pin the blame on me for this, Goldilocks. You were the one who got yourself so bloody sozzled you can’t even remember if you let me take a poke.”

For a moment Spike thought she might hit him and clenched his jaw in readiness, but instead of resorting to violence, she spewed her contempt with words.

“I really hate you,” she spat venomously. “I can’t believe I let you touch me, period. I should have learned from the last time you lied to me six years ago.”

“The last time I didn’t lie. I just didn’t tell you the truth.”

“And that’s so different!” she scoffed. “You have the most skewed sense of reality out of anyone I ever had the misfortune to meet.” The blonde shook her head disbelievingly before turning toward the door.

“Please Buffy, I’m sorry!” yelled Spike.

Buffy halted in her tracks but didn’t turn around. She blinked at his barked apology and then sighed as she realized she couldn’t let herself listen to it. The man apparently hadn’t changed. He still manipulated situations to his own ends. Did he actually think that making her believe they slept together would make her want to do it again? Or was it just an offhanded punishment from an impotent, jilted lover? His little morsel of revenge in allowing her to think she’d lowered herself to someone like him.

Slowly she twisted around so she was face to face with her almost-lover. “Listen, Spike, let’s just get through the rest of today and tomorrow without any other incidents and then we’ll never have to endure each other’s presence ever again.” Buffy’s dewy green eyes flicked imploringly to him, almost mesmerizing him with her pleas.

However, he wasn’t about to let her go without a fight and he steeled himself, resting his head against the wall behind him.

It was now or never, do or die.

“I have feelings for you,” he told her tentatively, feeling a stab in his heart when he heard her sigh, but pushed on with his declaration regardless. “I don’t know yet for sure what they are…”

“Hate and loathing!” she interjected.

Ignoring her, he continued, “…but I want to see what we can have together. Give us a bloody chance, Buffy.”

“Are you kidding?” He shook his head. “So you’ve just gone totally insane?”

“I haven’t gone insane, love. I’ve wanted this for so long!” he assured her but she continued to stare at him like he’d grown an extra head.

Momentarily Buffy wondered if a new head might be less obnoxious toward her than his current one. Then she dismissed that thought. It would still be a part of Spike after all.

“You’re crazy, Spike! This has come out of nowhere.”

“Not nowhere. It’s been six years in the coming, love. Six years of waiting, wanting, lovi...”

“No! Don’t even say it! Just don’t okay?”

“Okay, it scares you, I can see that. There’s been a lot of water under out bridge but I want to be with you Buffy. No more lies, no more pretending. Just you and me and forever stretching out before us. I can feel how good we’d be together love!”

He turned his deep blue eyes to her. They seemed even deeper than usual, like the depths of the dark and stormy ocean, pulling her under to her doom. There was no hint of the usual mocking glint that she saw there. All she could detect was pure and unadulterated sincerity and her resolve wavered for a moment.

It would be so easy just to give in to him. In spite of her mean words, she could attest to the fact that Spike had shown himself to be a phenomenal lover with his one selfless act if she was honest. He’d been generous and passionate, taking her to intense heights that had never even featured in her wildest dreams.

On one hand she knew he could be a wonderful man but on the other hand Spike was everything that she disapproved of. He was not only a former porn star but he had also lied to her and hurt her, more than once. It would take more than a few pretty words to erase her deeply ingrained resentment for his transgressions.

Sure she had seen him change. She remembered the way he crushed her six years ago and he was a different person now. Okay he was still temperamental and tempestuous, easily pissed off and incredibly volatile. But he hadn’t mocked her misfortune with Riley or abandoned her alone in a dangerous bar when she was ninety percent alcohol and only ten percent Buffy.

But the cautious part of her heart that had been stomped on in the past sent out a wailing siren at her near surrender. It veered to the side that would stop her from repeating the mistakes of the past. Everything was easier that way.

She kept herself guarded and it protected her from pain. When she had even let her guard down a fragment with Riley, that ended in disaster and she couldn’t help but think that if things went bad with Spike, which they inevitably would, the fallout would make both the previous world wars look like family squabbles.

“Spike,” she started, “I…”

A knock on the door interrupted her and she almost stomped her foot in frustration. Spike looked just as annoyed too and he yanked open the door to reveal a pink haired runner on the other side.

“You guys are needed,” the girl said, glancing awkwardly between Buffy and Spike. She could sense the tension that was radiating between the two. It felt toxic and made her skin itch. The girl tugged on the hem of her cotton candy T-shirt.

“We’ll be down there in a minute,” Spike bit out from between his clenched teeth.

“Um, you’re kinda like needed right now,” the girl informed him nervously, popping her gum. “Mr. McDonald is getting a little pissy that you’re not down there already.”

“I don’t give a flying bloody fuck if we’re needed. Get your skinny arse back there and tell Mr. McDonald and the rest of those nits they’ll have to wait,” he yelled, his fraying temper rapidly unraveling.

“But…” she tried again.

“Sod off you stupid bint,” he shouted, slamming the door in her stunned face. She scampered off down the hallway as fast as her legs could carry her.

He turned to Buffy, trying to reign himself back in but his face fell and his hopes faded when he was confronted by the disappointment etched on her lovely visage.

“That little display illustrates exactly why we can’t be together,” she told Spike sadly.

“What display?”

“You know what I mean. You’re rude and mean. You’re not a good man!”

“I can be a good man. I can try. Don’t you see, Buffy? I’ve changed from that wanker you met six years ago. I wouldn’t do what I did to you with Glory if I had my time over.”

She exhaled softly. “You lied to me today, Spike. You let me believe that we had…sex. You say I can trust you, but you don’t show it.”

“I shouldn’t have done that,” admitted Spike. “I was just pissed off that you did a Harry Houdini on me this morning. But it won’t happen again. I’m turning over a new leaf.”

“Don’t make any more promises to me. I can’t trust you to keep them,” she sighed, walking past him and out of the room. He watched her retreating form with pure longing.

As she turned a corner and disappeared out of his sight, a sudden desperate realization swept through Spike. Having her leave him was like having his beating heart torn from his chest. He couldn’t let her walk out of his life and survive the loss.

Because he loved her. He knew for sure. When she’d looked at him, all sass and fire, he no longer doubted the emotion that he’d spent more than half a decade struggling with.

It was love.

He loved Buffy Summers.

And if there was one thing that Spike Pryce would fight for, it was love.
Chapter 10 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
As always thanks for the reviews. And here's the next chapter. :)
When Buffy and Spike arrived back on set from Buffy’s dressing room they both took a deep breath to clear their addled brains. The pair slinked into position on their marks as they tried to forget about the tension that sparked and crackled between them. It wasn’t easy but they had to be professionals about this…no matter how difficult that might prove.

Lindsey eyed the both of them with guarded suspicion, but he didn’t have the energy to confront them. If there was one thing he’d learned during his time directing the show, it was that it was much easier not to ask questions. Questions only dredged up awkward answers that you probably didn’t really want at all. He was happy to stay out of their personal issues as long as they could get the job done.

He moved forward with the clapperboard glancing at his two leads. “And…action!” announced the Texan, snapping the board down.

As soon as they heard the call, Buffy and Spike both slipped into the personas of their characters. But neither of them could deny the sizzling tension that still reigned supreme.

Jim smiled at his lover, a grin befitting of a cat that caught its canary.

“Mmm, we did it!” he grinned, holding up the almost grotesque diamond ring to the light to inspect their parry.

“We did. Kelly’s dead and we got the ring.” Shell grinned.

She moved closer to him, draping herself over his shoulders. Buffy’s insides were percolating as she felt his soft muscles ripple under his skin. Beads of sweat were bubbling up at the back of her neck. With professional detachment she sealed her lips to Spike’s. After all it wasn’t really her and Spike that were kissing. It was Jim and Shell.

The fictional characters just happening to be borrowing their bodies for the oh so incredibly hot…No! Not hot! For the…gross display of affection. Yes, gross.

Then why did his lips taste like home against hers?

Pulling back from the blond, Buffy steadied herself and quickly slipped back into character, ignoring her pervasive thoughts. “Did you like shooting her, Jimmy? Did you enjoy taking her life?”

Jim averted his eyes. “I did it for you, Shell. You asked me to do it and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. You know that.”

“I do know, Jim. You’ve always been so malleable. I guess everything worked out, eh? Now, there’s just one other loose end to tie up.”

Shell pulled a pistol from her pocket and pointed it at Jim’s chest. His face twisted in shock as he realized what was going on.

“Give the ring to me, Jimmy,” she commanded him, her voice as hard as steel.

“Shell…don’t do this…”Buffy wasn’t sure that the begging in his voice was all Jim’s. She could hear pure Spike in his words and she had to force herself to deliver her next line.

“I’m only gonna ask one time. If you don’t give it to me, then I’m gonna paint a pretty picture on that wall with your brains. Your choice, baby.”

Knowing he had no other option, he steadied his breath and handed the ring to her, turning hurt puppy dog eyes to the ground as she grabbed the ring from his hand. With a triumphant smile, she slipped it onto her finger.

“You know I’m gonna come after you, Shell,” he warned her as she preened. He waved an angry fist at his one true love. “I won’t let you get away with stabbing me in the bloody back you little bitch.”

“Remember who’s holding the gun here, Jim,” she warned him, stopping his approach toward her. “I got all the power. And you got nothing.”

Shell removed the ring from her finger and pocketed it, tucking away firmly and keeping the gun aimed at her boyfriend the entire time.

“Now, let’s tie up that loose end.” She clicked the safety off the gun and steeled her nerves, visibly swallowing as she prepared herself.

“Shell, you don’t want to do this,” Jim pleaded with her again, keeping his eyes glued to the pistol pointed at him.

The slight shake of her hand was easily detectable but she merely waved the gun at him.

“Shut up!” Shell yelled. “Don’t you get it yet, Jim? Do you really not understand?”

“Understand what?” He threw his arms up in the air.

“The truth!” she spat at him. “You’ve always been a fool, blinded by love and oblivious to the truth. But you have to see it now!”

“And just what is the truth, pray tell?”

“I never loved you, Jim.” He flinched more wildly than if she’d shot him and Buffy realized that the flinch was part Jim but mostly Spike. The blond actor wasn’t hearing the character say those cruel words. He was hearing them from Buffy. She felt a twinge of regret but nevertheless, she persevered. “I never even cared for you. Sure, you were a good lay, but that’s where it ended. And seeing as I can find a good lay pretty much anywhere, it’s not worth keeping you around.”

“Don’t do this, Shell!” he pleaded. “I love you.” The irony of Spike delivering that line to her was not lost on either of the lovers.

“Love! Ha! Love is just a way to sell greetings cards, Jim. It’s not real. And I’m not about to throw away millions of dollars on you because of ‘love.’”

He narrowed his eyes. “So what are you going to do?”

“I’m leaving for Mexico tonight. I can sell this stupid rock when I get there and live like a Queen. I’d say I wish you could join me, but we both know that’d be a lie, don’t we?”

“You think you can just run away?” He ran a trembling hand through his hair. With a sigh he shook his head desperately when she nodded. “Money won’t keep you warm at night, Shell.”

“Neither did you.” She raised dark eyes to his and pulled the trigger of the gun. “I’m sorry, Jim. I really am, but sometimes ‘love’ is not worth the risk.”

A gunshot rang out in the air, and Jim went sprawling to the ground. A sticky, viscous red liquid gushed from the ‘wound’ like a fountain as the blood pack tucked under his shirt exploded. But Shell didn’t even bat an eye. Instead she smiled and stepped over his prone body.

“Goodbye, Jim,” she whispered. Her words were poignant on more than one level, and Buffy wondered, in spite of her character’s evil nature, just how much Shell resembled her. Both she and her fictional alter-ego were able to tear out a man’s heart without blinking at the blood on their hands.

With one final glance at her ex-lover, Shell stepped out of the room, leaving him to bleed out on the cold kitchen tile.

“Cut!” Lindsey yelled, a wide smile on his face. He couldn’t have asked for the scene to go better. They’d even gotten it all in one take, which was a rare achievement. Not only that, but the scene had crackled with sexual energy more fiercely than Pop Rocks and cola. Both his lead actors had redeemed themselves with that scene.

Buffy breathed a sigh of relief when she realized the scene was over. It was the last scene she had to film, which meant she was now free to leave. The tumult in her mind was reaching critical mass and she wanted to bolt like a spooked horse right now. That feeling strengthened when she saw Spike approaching her. However, his advance was halted when Lindsey called after him.

“Spike!” Lindsey shouted, stopping his pursuit of Buffy. “We still have to do the scene where the cops find you.”

Breathing a sigh of relief that Spike was detained, Buffy hightailed it out of there and into the hallway. She made it back to her dressing room in record time and surged into the room, slamming the door behind her.

“Phew!” she sighed, slinking over to her chair. She let her head drop wearily into the welcoming cradle of her hands. Glancing in the mirror she flashed herself a self deprecating smile.

This whole day wasn’t turning out well. Okay, it was more like her whole life wasn’t turning out well and she didn’t care if she was being melodramatic because she was an actress and it was her right goddamn it!

She idly wondered when it had all gone wrong and figured she could pin it all on Spike in some way or the other. At least she was pretty sure she could because it wasn’t as if he was exactly the most honest soul she’d ever met and lies always led to badness.

The man had even lied to her about them having sex. That wasn’t some small fib either! It was a flat out, full blown whopper of a lie. Unconsciously she ground her teeth in fury. He did have a propensity to lie but the man should have known that his deceit would get found out in the end.

It always did.

Leaning back in her chair she recalled the first time she’d uncovered Spike’s lies thanks to the smug face of one of her most irritating rivals.

Still on cloud nine after spending the previous evening with Spike, Buffy flounced out of Giles’ office the next morning with a large grin on her face.

Still buzzing from the high of their date sleep hadn’t exactly come easy the previous night but it hadn’t mattered because her head was filled with thoughts of the handsome blond. In all of her eighteen years she’d never experienced a kiss like the one that Spike had treated her to. It had stirred something in the pit of her stomach that she couldn’t liken to any other sensation. It was fire and ice, air and water all at the same time and it made her head spin.

As she lay between the cool cotton sheets in her hotel bed, after sending him away from her door, she’d made the decision that she would give herself to Spike very soon.

Maybe even sooner that he realized.

The couple had made a date for tonight and she was thinking that tonight could be the night that they finally experienced each others’ bodies and souls. She could already envisage how spiritually beautiful it would be. Of course, she was looking forward to the orgasms too. The blonde blushed a deep red thinking of just what it would be like to climax while Spike was buried deep inside of her.

Buffy was so lost in her profound thoughts that she didn’t see the figure she collided with until they were both sprawled on the ground.

Scrambling to her feet Buffy came face to face with the narrowed brown eyes of Hollywood’s skankiest brunette.

Faith Lehane.

She and Faith had both graced the same screens when they were kids but while Buffy had blossomed into America’s beloved sweetheart, Faith was known for her gritty roles and even grittier personal life.

The last time Buffy saw her annoying fellow actress only a few days earlier, the voluptuous whore had been grinding up against a drunken Cordelia Chase. It was at the party where Buffy met Spike and the blonde couldn’t help but smugly congratulate herself on getting the better deal.

However, a more sober, yet no less slutty, version of Faith was staring at her with furious eyes and clenched fists right now and Buffy wondered whether to punch the girl first and run. She was rubbing a sore hip which she’d undoubtedly bumped in the collision.

Faith’s heaving chest, which was mostly exposed to view, rose and fell as she struggled to stand in her four inch heels. The dark haired girl smoothed down the front of her skirt, which could have been confused with a belt as she glared at her blonde counterpart.

However, as Faith studied Buffy her anger melted into amusement. Buffy fidgeted self consciously. “Well if it isn’t Miss Priss,” laughed Faith, eying the blonde actress with humor in her eyes.

There was something about Faith that radiated misplaced superiority and it immediately grated on the blonde’s fragile nerves. Buffy tugged at the hem of her ‘Cutie Pie’ T-shirt feeling a little exposed all of a sudden. She pursed her cotton candy glossed lips and squared her shoulders.

“Faith Lehane!” Buffy exclaimed distastefully. “What are you doing here? The last time I saw you, you were redefining stutdom with Cordelia Chase.”

“I’m here to see my boy, Rupes,” Faith responded.

“Rupes? Wait! Giles is your manager?” Buffy frowned. “I didn’t think he was one for dealing in skank.”

“Oh ho ho! You’re one to talk, Summers,” retorted Faith slyly dismissing Buffy’s question. “I saw you acting up at the Viper Room last night with your newest boytoy. Boy you two were hot!”

Buffy blushed but maintained eye contact with the curvy brunette. “So what if I was there with a guy?”

“I got nothing to say about it, B,” Faith giggled. “Just didn’t think you had it in you to date someone like… that.

“Like what?” Buffy inquired with genuine confusion.

Did Faith somehow know Spike? A shard of fear lodged in her chest at the thought that they might actually know each other. Faith had slept her way through her fair share of men in Hollywood so it wouldn’t surprise her. It would hurt though.

“I just didn’t figure you to be one that’s into the kink of Spike Pryce.” Faith shrugged and tossed her head.

“What kink?” Buffy question was hissed from between gritted teeth and Faith’s demeanor suddenly turned serious.

“You really don’t know?” Faith asked. Buffy shook her head. “Wow, B. Spike is pretty much the current star of the porn industry. Your boy’s about as hot as they get. I heard they nicknamed him ‘Golden Cock.’” She paused to snicker, finding herself on the receiving end of a scathing glare from Buffy. “I’ve seen some of that stuff and it’ll blow your balls, baby. I thought you’d have experienced it firsthand if you’re his new squeeze.”

Buffy gulped as she digested the information. Spike was a porn star, barely even hearing Faith’s final words. He was in porn. Spike made porn. What the fucking hell?

Sure, he’d told her was an actor but she thought he’d meant respectable acting, not whoring himself out for money. Her blood ran cold as she thought of this becoming common knowledge in the media. If Faith Lehane already knew about their tryst, then how long would it be before the whole world knew that Hollywood’s golden girl was dating porn’s…golden cock.

Her mouth hung open as the information swirled around her brain. She tried to deny it to herself but Faith wasn’t really smart enough to make up a scheme like that. She snapped her jaw closed and narrowed her own jade colored eyes.

“My dating life is none of your goddamn business, Faith. Why don’t you stick to worrying about your own men…all five hundred of them.”

“Ooh, jealous B?” Faith licked her crimson lips and placed a hand on her hip.

“Of you?” Buffy scoffed. “When I’m craving a bout of gonorrhea then I’ll be sure to be jealous of you, F.”

Faith glowered impotently but Buffy wasn’t in the mood to hear anything else from her. She pushed past the brunette and marched away from her, not pausing in her stride until she was outside in the open air. Buffy sucked in a deep breath, suddenly feeling like a heavy weight was sitting on her chest. The warm air did nothing to life the feeling as it oppressively taunted her.

To know that Spike had omitted such a vital fact really stung. Hell it was a deeper cut than just a sting. It was agony, like he’d ripped out her heart and replaced with it salt. Blinking back the tears she pulled her cell phone out of her purse and with shaking fingers scrolled through her list of numbers to locate Spike’s.

Putting the telephone next to her ear she listened to the ring. The blonde felt like she’d been submerged under water as she heard his barked, “Hello?”

“S-spike?” Buffy asked, clearing her clogged throat. Her heart was pounding relentlessly.

She could almost hear the smile that touched his lips when he realized it was Buffy. “Well, hello there Kitten,” he drawled, his voice instantly softening. “Now this is an unexpected surprise. I didn’t expect to hear from you until tonight. Missing me are you?”

“Uh, actually I need to see you. Can you meet me in like…twenty minutes?”

“Sure love,” he responded, a little confusion tinting the edges of his voice.

Knowing that this would be the last time she could see Spike ever again broke her heart but she steeled herself. She couldn’t stay with him. Not just because he was a porn star but because he hadn’t even told her about it.

And how could she ever be with a liar?”


A knock startled her from her memories but she relaxed again when Giles peeked his head around the dressing room door.

“Ready to go, Buffy?” he asked her. “The car is ready to escort us back to the hotel.”

Barely hearing her manager’s words she made eye contact with the haggard figure she saw reflected in the mirror in front of her. She wasn’t sure that she even knew the girl who stared back at her from the sanctuary of the mirror any longer.

Just as Shell tore out Jim’s heart, Buffy knew she’d done the exact same thing to Spike. The image of his forlorn face would be forever emblazoned on her brain.

Thinking about what had transpired during the last few days caused her immense physical pain though so it was easier just to put it to the back of her mind.

That was what she had to do. It was her duty. And no one could ever accuse Buffy Summers of shirking her duty.

Pulling her cap over her head and placing her sunglasses back on her face, she turned to Giles and followed him out to the parking lot where the limo was waiting for them.

Buffy was just about to climb into the car when she heard a high pitched girly voice calling her name. She spun around and found her arms suddenly filled with a panting Dawn.

“Oh my God!” the young brunette exclaimed. “I can’t believe you were gonna leave without saying goodbye to me.” She pouted and Buffy felt a little guilty.

“Sorry sweetie,” she said, stroking Dawn’s long shiny locks. “We were in a hurry. I got a flight to catch in a couple hours, so we had to rush off.”

“It’s okay. I just wanted to say goodbye and stuff before you go.” She grinned. “And also remember me if you hear about any huge movie or television roles for cute eighteen year old brunettes.”

Buffy returned her smile and nodded. “I promise that you will be my first and only thought. I’m gonna miss you, Dawn. You’re like the little sister I always wanted.”

She gave her new surrogate sister another hug, enjoying the innocent human contact. Glancing over the other girl’s shoulder, Buffy suddenly noticed something that started the butterflies a-fluttering in her stomach. Well, actually it wasn’t a something…more like a someone.

Spike Pryce was marching toward the two girls with a pointed gait. His trademark leather coat was billowing behind him in the light breeze. He looked like a comic book hero, complete with cape and Buffy’s breath lodged in her overly dry throat.

Damn it!

Buffy quickly drew back from the hug and lunged for the car. “I really gotta go Dawn,” she called apologetically. “I’ll call you, okay?”

She managed to slip into the limo just as Spike caught up with them, slamming the door firmly. Her eyes momentarily met Giles’ curious ones but she looked away when she suddenly felt even more self conscious than usual.

“Let’s get the hell outta here,” she whispered to no one in particular as the car moved away.

She could hear the sound of her name being called by a deep baritone British voice in back of her but she didn’t turn around, didn’t even flinch.

There was no point in turning around because she knew that there was nothing else that she could do except for leaving him behind her.

As she stared blankly out of the limousine’s tinted glass window, Buffy just wondered if a part of her heart was staying behind too.
Chapter 11 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
Thank you again for all reviews! Flashback is in italics. :)
Spike sat listlessly staring at the wall, in a deep depression. For the past few weeks, ever since Buffy ran out on him at the studios, she’d occupied his every thought. And tonight was no different. Even though he'd had feelings for her for a long time, seeing her again after six years had heightened his need for her. Heightened his love for her.

He hadn’t tried to contact Buffy since she went on the lam from him. He didn't even attempt to see her from afar because facing another rejection right now would just be too painful. His heart was still too raw for her to stomp on it again. Earlier that day he’d seen on the television that she was in town for the premiere to her newest movie but he’d tried to ignore it. He didn’t want to look at her smiling face when the last thing he wanted to do was smile.

At first, after she ran away like a spooked mouse, he’d solely wanted to drown his sorrows at the bottom of a bottle, but it quickly became apparent that there wasn’t enough alcohol in the continental United States to wash her from his mind. He’d thought about turning to something even stronger, but as a veteran of the porn trade he knew the dangers of tumbling down that rocky path.

The next best thing, he decided, was isolation. Complete and total isolation from anything that reminded him of her. Unfortunately just about everything stirred up her image in his mind’s eye so the whole process seemed futile.

However, it had allowed him to realize one thing. Instead of drinking himself into an early grave, he needed to form a plan. He wasn’t sure exactly what that plan was going to be yet…but it needed to be gold standard. After all of the hurt that he’d inflicted on his girl in the past nothing less than perfection was going to win her heart for him.

Unfortunately, with half the contents of the USA’s alcohol stash flowing through his veins, it wasn’t the easiest time to concoct a worthy plan.

Spike lit a cigarette and savored the burn as the smoke curled into his lungs. It calmed him a little but he was still jittery with a mixture of hurt, hope and guilt.

Maybe he could purge the guilt at least. If he could do things right this time then it would surely serve to erase his past sins.

“Not that Buffy’ll see it like that, you prize ponce,” he said, angrily stubbing out the butt in his hand. “You always mess up anyway. Even if you fix it you’ll just fuck it up some other way, won’t you Spike ole boy?”

He sighed heavily as his memory settled on a painful recollection of just how easily he was able to fuck up everything when it came to the elusive Buffy Summers.

Buffy marched into the diner, where Spike was waiting for her.

She couldn’t believe he hadn’t even bothered to inform her that he was a porn star. Didn’t he care how that could ruin her reputation? If it hadn’t been for Faith and her weird interpretation of suitable conversation she would never have known.

The angry set of her lips was probably scaring off every sane person who crossed her path but she was clearly too mad to even care.

The whole journey over she’d been mulling the situation over and over in her head but she’d only come up with one conclusion.

Spike had purposely deceived her.

There was no other explanation for it. It wasn’t like he hadn’t been given ample opportunity to confess his less than stellar career path but instead he’d chosen to conceal it.

She was so angry that she felt her brain might start leaking out of her ears.

Buffy located where he was sprawled in a booth looking every part the fallen angel that he actually was. Her whole body suffused with an involuntary and yet unquenchable heat as she gazed at him from across the diner. Despite his less than honorable personality her body didn’t seem to be able to stop reacting to him and as she sauntered over, looking as nonchalant as she could, she thought that her insides might explode from the butterflies that filled them.

Slipping into the booth, she evaded his attempt at a kiss. “Hello, Spike,” she greeted him coldly.

“Alright love?” he asked, studying her with concern. Her tense posture and furrowed brow were worrying him.

“I guess that depends on your interpretation,” she laughed humorlessly. “But you’re the expert at interpreting things just the way you want them. Aren’t you, Spike?”

“What are you talking about?” he asked. As cool as he looked on the outside, inside he was suddenly churning with fear.

Buffy scoffed and scowled at him. “Why didn’t you tell me what you do?” she asked him accusingly, eyes suddenly flashing with fury. She didn’t need to explain what she meant. It was obvious from the guilty look on his face that he knew exactly what she was talking about.

“I planned on telling you eventually but I didn’t think it was that important, Princess,” he admitted.

“Not important?! Are you totally out of your tiny mind?”

“Bloody hell, Buffy! I had a feeling you wouldn’t exactly love what I do so…”

“So you decided to lie to me about it?” She shook her head, trying to clear the red haze that was trying to descend in front of her eyes.

“No! I thought if you didn’t know about my job then you might want to get to know me for me. But apparently a bloody golden girl like you wouldn’t slum it with a git like me.”

“Ugh!” Buffy stamped her foot. “See I can’t even understand what you just said. Why can’t you speak English?”

“Says the girl who massacres the English language.”

“You’re making with the no-importo again,” she said.

“Case in point.”

“Why do you do that, Spike? You avoid the issue!”

“Hello Pot, meet Kettle…”

“I can’t do this, Spike. I can’t even look at you right now. I thought I could trust you and you’ve proved you’re no different from any other guy.”

“I am different, love. If you gave me a go you’d see that.”

“No, I gotta go,” she told him, rising to her feet and whirling around toward the exit, but he grabbed her wrist and pulled her back into the booth.

“If you want to go, I’ll let you go. But just look me in the bloody face and tell me you don’t want me as much as I want you.”

Buffy took a deep breath, before lifting regretful eyes to his face. “Sorry Spike, you’re hot. Actually you’re wicked hot. But I can’t date a porn star.”

His hopes dashed, he felt an unfamiliar twist in his chest cavity. The last time he’d felt that kind of pain was when his previous girlfriend had broken his heart. But he wasn’t about to give up on the girl. “How about a shag then?”

Her nose wrinkled as she tried to decipher what ‘shag’ even meant.

“Come on, love,” he cajoled her, hope springing up in his eyes. “You and me, one night in soddin’ paradise and what all.”

“No, Spike. As if! It’s never gonna happen. Just deal with it, okay. I’m sure you got a whole bunch of girls waiting for you, so leave me be.”

“I'm not denying that I could shag any bird I wanted to five ways to Sunday," Spike said, cringing at Buffy's look of disgust. "But I don’t want to leave you be, pet. I just want you. Instead of being such a judgmental, contrary little bint maybe you could try and understand that my job isn’t the person I am inside.”

“No, I know it’s not. But the person you are inside…well he’s a liar, and possibly a gross pervert, so I don’t like him very much.” Buffy closed her eyes and licked her lips. “Goodbye Spike,” she told him sadly before leaving the booth and striding away.

As she sauntered out of his life, Spike Pryce felt a pain inside of him that was worse than any he’d ever experienced. He felt as if he was cracking into two pieces, being dragged under by a viscous emotion that he wasn’t even sure how to identify.

It wasn’t over though. He wasn’t giving up the fight…not yet.


To his credit, Spike hadn’t given up on the fight. He’d spent six years trying to change from the man he used to be. He went straight and he was making a life for himself in the mainstream field now. Of course it still wasn’t good enough for her.

“Bloody selfish bitch!” he swore, pacing edgily. “Can’t even see how much I’m trying to be good…for her.”

He dropped to his knees and the bottle of beer that he was holding tightly slipped from his fingers. It bounced lightly on the tattered motel carpet before landing on its side. The rest of the contents spilled from the top in the same way that Spike’s pain was spilling from his heart. Except that the bottle would eventually be empty and Spike would never be free of the pain. Not unless by some miracle he was able to have Buffy.

“That’s not bloody likely any time soon is it?”

He thought back to his earlier musings about a grand plan to somehow make her love him. He didn’t think that would work but he wondered if it wasn’t worth a try. After all, no matter how much he wished he could forget about it, she was in Los Angeles right now in preparation for her movie showing. And she would no doubt be attending one of those glitzy after parties that the stars loved so much.

As the beginnings of a plan started to form in his mind, Spike’s mouth curved into the first smile that had touched his lips since he last saw Buffy.

With renewed vigor he hopped to his feet and began to plot.

This was going to work.

It had to.

++++++++++


On the other side of town, someone else was enduring an equally sleepless night. Buffy lay in her bed, the events of the past few weeks running ceaselessly through her weary mind.

After leaving her tryst with Spike behind, Buffy had taken a short trip to the East Coast to make some television appearances. Her time away from Spike allowed her to gain some much needed perspective on the whole situation. Although it was still a Buffy-perspective so it was a little skewed.

She realized that she was attracted to her blond sparring partner to some degree. That was why she’d turned to him in her drunken state for her some sexual comfort. However, she denied that she trusted him. To Buffy he was just good for sex. Wasn’t that his business after all?

So why did her heart cringe at that assertion?

Nevertheless, in typical Buffy fashion, she pushed her heart’s desires aside and listened to the rationality of her head. Spike was bad news and staying away from him was a good idea. She was certain she was making the right choice. Anyway she had much more important things to concentrate on right now.

More important things like giving interviews to a whole bunch of probing talkshow hosts.

It was emotionally and physically draining but it took her mind of her newly perspective-d romantic crisis. It meant that she was too tired to stare into the dark as she lay in bed at night, churning the Spike-situation over and over in her head. It meant that she didn’t get the time to try and remember just how the curve of his neck smelled or how his lips tasted against hers.

Not that she had any desire to recall those things, of course. Or at least that’s what she kept on telling herself.

When she got done with the stress of repeatedly being asked the same questions about her lack of a sex life over and over again, Buffy returned to Los Angeles for the premiere of the movie that facilitated her initial meeting with Riley Finn several months earlier.

‘Beating Heart, Bloodied Soul’ was a movie that transformed Buffy into a kick-ass action heroine. After a lifetime of playing cutesy princesses or soppy romantic leads, that film had been a breath of fresh air for her. Despite the fact that she’d met Riley while making the movie, it didn’t mar the experience for her.

Okay, maybe it did just a little. But of course being in the same Zip code as Riley marred things.

She was looking forward to the premiere and dreading it in equal measure. When Riley’s macabre exposÚ had hit the shelves Buffy found herself caught in a maelstrom of press attention. However, that had since died down a little and Buffy was hoping to keep it that way. However, she couldn’t help but feel that the premiere would dredge all that controversy back up again.

On the other hand this was her chance to be seen as a true action heroine. The world would finally see how she was breaking out of the good-girl mold and growing up into an independent woman.

However, now it was the night before the big occasion and there was one teeny tiny problem. She was dateless for the both the premiere and the after party.

Now usually that wouldn’t bother her. It wasn’t like she hadn’t gone stag to these things before. After all, her dating history read like an obituary anyway so she wasn’t exactly all with the needing to beat the boys off with a stick. However, the idea of seeing Riley with some slut and having him gloat that she was all alone…well just the thought of it made her blood run cold.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. It wasn’t as if she had to actually talk to anyone at the premiere, except for the reporters and she could tell them she was rocking the whole ‘Independent Woman’ concept. That would work. In fact, she was pretty sure that legions of women would jump on her new bandwagon if she said that.

However, that still left the after party. Going to that all alone was way worse than they premiere and it would no doubt give her ex a good chance to stick in the knife and twist. She supposed she could just avoid it altogether but that would actually be even worse. Riley would know she was avoiding it because of him and he would feel like he’d won.

Well there was no way she was going to give that bastard the satisfaction. Buffy Summers didn’t just roll over and die. She stood up to the big bads, kicked their arrogant, oversized asses.

With her fists still clenched in determination. Buffy curled into bed and closed her eyes, letting the Sandman gently carry her into the land of dreams. If she’d known it would be a sleep filled with horrible memories, maybe she would have popped a couple of Adderall instead.

Memories and dreams melded into one restless night.
Chapter 12 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
Thank you to everyone who's read and to everyone who's reviewed this story. I hope that you're all still with me.

Sorry for the delay with posting this chapter. But here is now. And I hope that you enjoy it. :)
The next morning Buffy woke up gasping after a night of intangible nightmares. She couldn’t remember what she’d dreamed about but it left her with a feeling of foreboding in her bones.

This really wasn’t the start she wanted to the day of her big premiere. A cold sweat broke out on her forehead. She felt a chill creep up her spine and flopped back down to her pillow trying to gather her thoughts. The blonde couldn’t quite identify what it was…but she had a feeling something big and bad was going to happen.

The rest of the day passed in a blur. Giles was hovering over her like a crazed mother hen. Of course he wanted the premiere to go perfectly for her. He spent the day schooling her in the responses she should give to the press in every eventuality. She already knew all of it but humored him because it made her life a little less traumatic than if she tried to explain that she already knew.

As soon as she was ready to rumble, Giles bundled her into the limousine and climbed in behind her. He was attired in a smart suit himself and looked quite the part. She supposed in some ways he was her surrogate date for the night, like a proud father who dances with his teenage daughter at a wedding when none of the boys ask her to take a twirl with them.

And didn’t she just feel like an absolute reject with that analogy?

“Are you quite alright, my dear?” the older Brit asked her as she stared out of the darkened car window.

“Hmm?” She turned to face him vacantly before shaking herself out of her mind freeze. “Oh yeah, I’m totally making with the fine.”

“I’m going to interpret that as a ‘yes’,” Giles said with a slight upward quirk of his lips. “However, I’m also going to refrain from believing you.”

“Giles, please don’t start,” she begged tiredly. During the past few months her manager had been constantly fretting about her mental state. He seemed to believe she was on the verge of a complete meltdown or something. However, she was clearly fine in her own mind.

Why couldn’t he see that?

“I’m not starting, Buffy. I just don’t want to see anything bad happen to you and I’m concerned.” He pulled his glasses off his face and began polishing them frantically. “Do you think I haven’t noticed how you’re barely interested in anything anymore? It seems that you spend half your time as a dead woman walking.”

“That’s not your business,” she spit back coldly, pinning him with a glare.

Giles straightened up, startled at her hostile words. She rarely talked to him in that way. However, he wouldn’t be deterred. “You are my business Buffy. I think we need to look into getting you help.”

“Help?” Her eyes bugged out of their sockets. “Like a head shrink?”

“I know of a wonderful psychologist…”

Her brow knitted into a severe frown. “No way, Giles. N-O. Not gonna happen in this lifetime or any other.”

“I merely would ask you to consider it.”

“Gee, heard, considered, rejected.” She rolled her eyes. “And do you really think that this is the time to bring it up.”

Giles acquiesced to her point. “Well I suppose perhaps not…”

“Right. Exactly. It’s not.” She sat back in her seat and leaned her head back against the cool leather. “Let’s just do the not talking thing right now.”

As they sat in silence, Buffy felt the initial twinges of guilt creep up on her for the way she’d talked to Giles. In all honesty she hadn’t meant to be so harsh but the thought of seeing a psychiatrist was terrifying to her. When she was fourteen a near-breakdown had landed her in an institution for almost a month. That hellish month had been one of the worst of her life. It was all about sharing her feelings with a bunch of other rich kids.

When she was released from that place she vowed that she would never go back to anywhere like it again. Even if she was hanging on by a thread. She’d just have to ensure that was one damn thick thread.

When she finally arrived at the premiere she was a bag of nerves and she was sporting a major headache. Sure, she looked sexy as hell clad in a long silk off the shoulder red gown but she felt like a dog’s leftover dinner. Her feet were already aching from the impossibly high heels that they were shoved into. Her false eyelashes were making her eyes dry and itchy and the heavy diamond jewelry around her neck and wrists was weighing her down. All in all looking good seemed to come at a painful price.

But then again, every image that she projected came at a price in one way or another.

Nevertheless she climbed out of the limo with a Barbie Doll smile plastered on her face and play acted for the crowds. They ate up her act like Mr. Doo devoured Scooby snacks. The reporters were similarly impressed by the young actress, snapping her picture to post in every magazine and internet site around the world.

They all loved her so much.

Once again Buffy felt the pressure weighing down on her shoulders. She felt like a modern day Atlas, only female obviously, and she also considered herself way hotter. She shouldered the pressure of the people and the press to be their pin up girl. Inside she felt another fissure form in her composure, even though she kept it totally together on the outside.

The cold, hard truth was that standing on the red carpet outside the ArcLight, waiting to watch the premiere of her newest movie should have been euphoric for Buffy. And yet there was something flat about it, like week old cola left out in the sun. She was lonely and jaded about this life and sometimes she wondered why she even bothered with it anymore.

It was so…predictable.

Buffy glanced at some of the other stars lingering for the cameras too. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Cordelia Chase posing for some foreign reporter. The busty brunette had lost out on a part on ‘Beating Heart, Bloodied Soul’, which had left the other woman a little pissed off. Buffy was actually surprised she showed up to the premiere. Apparently she wasn’t prepared to miss the chance at a little exposure while riding on someone else’s coattails.

Buffy also noticed Riley Finn as he disappeared inside. A shudder wracked through her at the thought of having to endure any kind of contact with him. She had a feeling she’d see him at the after party but maybe the Powers that Be would be kind to her and spare her that ordeal.

Although she was Buffy Summers…and that kind of luck never happened to go her way.

++++++++++

As it happened the premiere itself went exceptionally well. The people leaving the theater seemed to be raving about the movie from the overheard snippets that Buffy managed to catch. Giles, her biggest fan and biggest critic, also loved it. He’d been on set for most of the filming but he couldn’t get over how wonderfully she came across in the polished version.

“That could be an Oscar nomination for you, Buffy,” he said as they climbed into the limo together. He was hoping she’d gotten over her earlier snit and the smile she flashed him proved she was in a better mood now.

“An Oscar?” she asked delightedly. “You really think so?”

“I really do. You interpreted your character so well. You really outdid yourself with this performance.”

Buffy shut her eyes and let his kind words warm her soul.

However, as the limousine hummed along on the way to the after party, the warmth started to dissipate. And when she finally stepped inside the after party venue she realized just how much she’d been dreading this damn party. These days she wasn’t into the whole ‘celebrity scene.’ Not that she ever had been into it, but once she hit twenty one being able to drink lost a little of its shine.

Except in cases of extreme depression and look where that led to.

As she contemplated exactly where such a path had ended up in the past, Buffy briefly wondered if Spike would be there. However, she immediately dismissed the idea. Not only was he not a big enough star to be invited to an after party like this one but he also very likely never wanted to see her again.

Not that she wanted to see him. In fact seeing him was just about the last thing she wanted to do after having spent the past few weeks trying not to think about him.

Except that was all of a bunch of self-deceptive lies, and Spike had actually been on her mind a lot. The more she tried not to think about him, the more she fixated on the man. He was like a damn drug and he haunted her with periodic cravings for him. Sometimes she would even get the urge to verbally spar with him.

She was sick, insane and mentally addicted to someone who would always be bad for her.

Before she could think anymore about it, a large, looming figure stepped in front of her.

“Riley,” she said coldly as she stared up at the blank face of her sandy-haired ex boyfriend.

“Buffy,” he replied, heaping on the fake joviality like syrup on burnt pancakes. “I missed talking to you at the premiere.”

“Now isn’t that the kind of shame that’s not,” came her cutting retort. She wished he would just go away and leave her alone.

However apparently Mr. Finn wasn’t quite finished yet.

He took a casual sip of his drink and leaned against the wall next to her. “Here alone are you?”

“I’m trying to be,” she bit back.

“I suppose the men of the world took my advice,” he continued, unperturbed. “They’re staying away from you. They don’t want to waste their time on a cold fish.”

“I doubt that, Riley,” she said, forcing a laugh through her pursed lips. “No sane man would listen to the bitter ravings of a scorned ex. So you’re fresh outta luck.”

“You think I sold my story because I was bitter about our breakup?” he laughed derisively, making sure that the nearby partygoers were picking up every word of their overly public discussion.

“No, I think you sold it because you’re an asshole,” she muttered in reply, garnering several gasps from the spectators.

“If it’s a choice between being an asshole and a frigid bitch, I know which I’d choose.”

And at that moment the smugness was wiped right off of Riley’s face as he went sailing to the ground.

++++++++++


When Spike walked in to the after party, he was immediately underwhelmed. The place was full of cotton candy people living their vanilla lives. It made him want to heave. Strains of 50 cent echoed through the venue, making Spike’s ears itch. Whatever happened to good ole punk music? These people clearly had no taste at all.

None of it mattered of course because he was here for one reason and one reason only.

Buffy.

This was the part where he had to put his slightly tipsy plan into action. Unfortunately, his plan only consisted of donning a suit and showing up to this lame after party. Mostly because he’d ended up passing out drunk before he managed to get past that stage. Anyway, he was sure it would all be fine and he was planning to wing it from here on in.

That couldn’t be too hard, right?

Deciding to forego a drink, even though he was in staunch need of some Dutch courage, he figured it would be better to keep a clear head. Anyway, Buffy didn’t really like drinking under normal circumstances so it would surely chalk up another check in the plus column if he demonstrated his soberness.

He sauntered farther inside, searching for her in the dim lights. When he caught sight of her, his blood ran hot and cold at the same time.

He’d never thought such a feat was possible until now. Of course, around Buffy anything was possible. The heat that warmed his blood was from the mere sight of her. She looked radiant decked out in the most beautiful blood red dress he’d ever seen. Aside from the fact that red was one of his favorite colors, the material of the dress hugged her subtle curves like a second skin. He’d never desired her as much as he did in that moment.

Unfortunately his euphoria was dampened by the fact that she was talking to that obnoxious bastard, Riley Finn. Spike had never gotten to meet the man personally before but he could gauge that the bulky male was an idiot even from a distance. Add to that the fact that Spike had witnessed how his cruel words had shredded Buffy’s heart and all in all Finn had generated a lot of Spike-hate already.

“Not that you’re any better than him,” Spike muttered to himself.

Except that Spike was better because he was trying to make amends for his past misdeeds. And from the look on Buffy’s face, her ex boyfriend was interested in anything but amends. Her face was flushed red and her chest was heaving in anger.

Spike managed to wheedle his way closer to the argument. He wanted to hear just what was going on. He was hoping that Buffy was tearing the idiot a new one and he prayed that it was as painful as possible for the buffoon who cheated on her and then betrayed her. When he got close enough, Spike was able to hear the tail end of the former lovers’ conversation.

“You think I sold my story because I was bitter about our breakup?” Spike heard Riley say. The American man followed it up with a nasty mocking laugh that provoked Spike’s hackles to rise. Finn was glaring down superciliously at her. Apparently the idiot had a little nasty fight left in him.

“No, I think you sold it because you’re an asshole,” Buffy mumbled in reply. It was a loud enough comment to reach Spike’s ears though and he silently cheered her on.

“Go on, pet!” he hissed under his own breath.

“If it’s a choice between being an asshole and a frigid bitch, I know which I’d choose.” Riley’s expression was making Spike angrier by the moment.

God, Spike wanted to crush that farm boy’s smug mug like a bug.

And that was exactly what he was going to do!

“Sod the plan,” he muttered, marching forward. “Maturity and restraint are overrated anyway.”

Pushing Buffy out of the way, he grabbed a stunned Riley Finn by the collar of his shirt and smirked coldly. “You really should learn how to respect a woman, you raging ponce!” he yelled, slamming his clenched fist into Riley’s smug face.

Buffy cried out in shock and a whole hoard of stunned onlookers chorused their own gasps of surprise as they realized what had just happened.

The larger man stumbled backward and tumbled to the ground with a pained shriek. “Argh! My beautiful face!” He glared up at the smaller blond. “I’ll have your ass for this!” he vowed to Spike.

“What the hell are you doing, Spike?” Buffy said, seemingly regaining the use of her voice. She’d stood impotently by as she watched Spike storm in like an insane white knight and punch her former lover in the face.

“You’re welcome, by the way,” Spike said, ignoring her question. He didn’t think he needed to dignify it with an answer.

“Welcome? Are you kidding?” Her lips were pulled back as she bared her teeth angrily at him. He didn’t see what the problem was. The boy had been disrespecting her and if there was one thing his mother had always instilled in him, it was that a good woman was supposed to be respected.

Spike turned away, unable to look at her furious expression, and cupped his injured hand, shaking it to try and purge the agony from his bones. At least Riley was looking even worse for wear, lying sprawled on the ground with a hand clasped to his face.

However, Buffy forced herself not to have any sympathy for Spike or his hand. She told herself that it made no difference that he’d just been defending her. Sure, he’d stood up in front of everyone and defended her honor, even as Riley tried to malign her but she didn’t want someone else to baby her. The deeply repressed part of her that did care for him felt bad but it wasn’t his place to step in for her.

The jagged crack in her mind deepened.

It didn’t even occur to her that the reason she was so mad at him was because she felt a glimmer of warmth develop for him inside of her chest. She couldn’t allow herself to soften toward him or all would be lost.

She would be lost.

Gathering her wits, she huffed out a breath. “Have you gone totally insane?!” she yelled at Spike, uncaring of the bystanders. “You can’t just go around punching people.”

Her eyes darted over to where Riley Finn was being helped away by some of his friends and his date for the night. His hands were still clutched to his broken nose giving Spike a little trill of satisfaction.

“Why not?” he asked her with a petulant pout firmly fixed on his face. “He was being a bloody arsehole to you, and it’s not as if you’ve never done it, love. You tried to bloody well lay me out a time or two.”

“That was different!” she seethed.

“Always soddin’ well is different when it’s you though. Golden girl like you never has to face up to the consequences of your actions.”

His words stung and she flinched at the implication. She knew that he was no longer just talking about punching Riley. The conversation had subtly shifted to recriminations against her for hurting him during the past few months.

“What consequences? And what actions? You don’t make any sense, Captain Peroxide,” she said defensively.

“You really want me to be specific?” he asked quietly, the twinkle in his eyes telling her that she definitely didn’t want him to be specific about in front of the straggling bystanders.

“No,” she retorted sadly, understanding what he was talking about. “But there are things I do when I’m drunk that are…mistakes. I can’t be responsible for those.”

“Do you even hear yourself, woman?” Spike was flushing a worrying shade of purple as he talked. “You can’t be responsible? You’re not a child, Buffy. And you’re not a Princess.”

Buffy pouted. “I know that.” She sighed and raised her eyes to the ceiling as the tension of the evening threatened to come crashing down on her. “But that’s the way it is. I know what you want from me but I can’t make myself feel something that I don’t.”

She felt the forced mendacity prickle at her conscience but ignored it. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t gotten used to ignoring her feelings.

“You really don’t feel anything good for me?” Spike said, his voice devoid of any emotion. “Tell me if that’s the case, Buffy and I’ll leave you be.”

Buffy’s eyes flickered up to meet Spike’s and she was stunned by the coldness of his gaze. Until that moment, she’d never realized how intense and warm his eyes usually were when she looked into them. But now that warmth had been drained and it was physically painful to look at him.

At that second, facing this hostile version of Spike, she realized that her feelings for him had drastically changed since their paths had first re-crossed on the set of Murder Most Strange. Whereas she wouldn’t have even cared before, now it stabbed at her heart to think that his feelings for her could disappear.

But what did she actually feel for him?

She wished she could untangle those complex emotions. Every positive thing that she felt toward him was still balled up in her unresolved pain from six years ago.

Clearing her throat, Buffy opened her mouth to speak. “I can’t tell you that I don’t feel anything good toward you, Spike,” she said slowly. “That would just be a lie. Because I do…care for you. But…”

Her words were gobbled up by the mists of time as another voice interrupted her.

“Mr. Spike Pryce?” a uniformed police officer asked sternly, sidling up to the couple like a caricature of some 1980s police show bad-cop.

Spike nodded. “Who wants to know?”

“LAPD,” the tall, well build officer said with no more preamble. His square cut jaw was set harshly as he studied Spike. There was a flicker of distaste in his eyes as he looked at the couple. Buffy figured it was just the look on his face rather than a personal grudge though. “I’m afraid you’re under arrest for assault.”

“Bloody hell!” Spike swore, lifting his eyes heavenward. That little dickwad, Finn, had called the damn cops on him! Spike couldn’t help but think that the other man was a gutless ponce that couldn’t handle his business like a man. Instead he’d run to the authorities to handle it for him. Even worse he was pissed that the stupid cop had interrupted him and Buffy at one of the most crucial moments of their relationship.

“You’re going to have to come with us, Sir,” the officer said, his voice still as harsh as ever. He glanced over his shoulder to his shorter, chubbier partner who was looking incredibly bored already. “We have some questions to ask you.”

The cop gripped Spike’s arm tightly and started to drag him away, causing Spike to pull back. “Don’t touch me, you bloody git! I can walk on my own.”

Apparently this was one of those ‘no nonsense’ cops though, and he slapped the cuffs on Spike before the bleached blond even had time to protest. Buffy watched in shock as he was hauled away, yelling obscenities that turned the air blue.

She couldn’t believe what had just happened. Spike had crashed her after party and punched Riley. What the hell was he thinking? Sure, Riley had been acting like a major asshole but didn’t Spike realize that she was capable of defending herself? She wasn’t some damseling idiot who needed a man to jump to her defense.

The girly part of her that still dreamed of white knights did appreciate his wildly romantic gesture, but Buffy told that annoying, childish voice to shut up. She didn’t want to listen to it whether it was correct or not.

Stupid chivalrous man, stepping up to her defense and being all sweet and heroic. Things like that just didn’t happen to Buffy Summers so she couldn’t trust it anyway.

Not to mention the fact that if anyone should have been punching Riley it was her.

There was little hope that this wouldn’t be all over the news by the morning, no doubt exaggerated to mammoth proportions. Thoughts of what sensational story the media might concoct chilled her to the bone. She could see it now: “Buffy Summers carrying porn star’s love child in debauched threesome with ex.”

And that’s when it all became too much for her.

The years in the limelight, under constant scrutiny by the press, the instances of heartbreak from men and the thought that her life was spinning out of control all slammed into her simultaneously like a derailing train.

Buffy slumped to the ground, her head falling to her knees. The world was spinning around her, falling in on the young actress. The air suddenly seemed thinner, as if all the oxygen had been sucked right out of it. She was barely aware of someone calling her name but she couldn’t register it. It was as if she was hearing the voice from underwater. She felt the tears start to fall and wondered if the pained wail that she could hear was coming from her own mouth.

Her life was a mess. This world was too harsh, cold, and painful.

And she just wasn’t sure she could manage to live in it anymore.
Chapter 13 by Starlight_Slayer
After the events of the after party, Buffy fell into a deep depression. A lot of the time she was inconsolable, paranoid and jumpy. She holed herself up in her hotel suite and would barely sleep or eat. No matter what Giles did, she didn’t seem to respond or improve. It was as if she’d finally fallen over the edge into desolate despondency.

Finally her manager reached the end of his tether. He told her of his concern that if she didn’t confront her issues then they would keep on piling up until the day she finally suffered a total mental break.

“I care for you too much to allow you to continue on such a thoroughly destructive path,” Giles told her tenderly. “I want you to find a way to deal with all this. You’ve been in the spotlight for such a long time that I’m not surprised it’s taking its toll on you, my dear.”

A whole lot of frantic spectacle polishing and tantrum-ing had ensued for several days until she finally she caved in to his advice.

“Fine Giles, you win,” she said dejectedly. “I’ll try one of these head shrink-y people. If you think they can help me, then I’m gonna do it.”

They eventually settled on Buffy going to see Dr. Tara Maclay who was world renowned for her work with celebrities and Buffy figured if anyone could fix her, it would be Dr. Maclay.

However, the therapist assured Buffy that she didn’t need ‘fixing.’ All she needed was to talk things out and she would learn the tools to cope with everything herself.

Buffy did take advantage of the opportunity to talk. It had never occurred to her before that she didn’t actually have anyone to talk to. Sure she had Giles and a host of casual acquaintances, but there was no one that she could truly confide in. Tara became a sounding board for her and Buffy felt like a weight was lifted.

Tara was one of those women who always seemed to be calm and collected. It was as if she bypassed the ‘crisis’ part of life that the majority of women had to suffer through.

Tara was a beautiful woman in her mid-30’s. Her honey blonde hair was usually pulled back in a ponytail, but her bangs prevented the look from being too harsh. She was smartly dressed, usually in a shirt and slacks and she was in a seemingly perfect relationship with another woman. Every single one of those reasons checked boxes as to why Tara was the ideal candidate to help Buffy. Buffy wondered if maybe she should consider lesbianism just to make everything simpler.

It was a chilly winter’s day in December when Buffy sat in Tara’s office sipping a hot chocolate. Earlier that day she’d received her first good news in what seemed like forever. However, unfortunately she hadn’t taken it quite as well as she should have.

“So an Oscar nomination?” Tara said neutrally. “How do you feel about that?”

“I should be all blissful Buffy right now, shouldn’t I?” Buffy said, looking anything but blissful.

“And you’re not?” Tara studied the younger blonde, her doe eyes drinking in the tense posture of the actress.

I just don’t want to be a failure,” she confided in Tara. “Being nominated for an Oscar is like a dream but…if I don’t win it’ll be a nightmare.”

“What makes you feel that way?”

“Everyone’s got all of these expectations. If I don’t live up to them then they’ll hate me.” It felt physically painful to be so unusually frank and honest, but Tara had a calmness surrounding her that allowed Buffy to open up.

Tara frowned. “Being nominated for an Oscar is a success in itself, Buffy,” she told her gently. “What matters is the way that you feel about things.”

“I guess so,” Buffy agreed hesitantly. “But this movie caused a stir off the screen too. I guess I don’t want all of that shit to start up again.”

“Oh!” Tara said, with sudden recognition. “It was at the premiere for this one that the fight between Riley and Spike broke out?”

Buffy grimaced in sad recollection. “Not at the premiere. God, that would have been even worse. It was at the after party. It was a horrible night. Spike threw a punch at Riley ‘cause he insulted me or something. I don’t even know exactly what happened. It’s just like this blur.”

Buffy’s mind was catapulted back to that night the days after that fight. Every news program and newspaper in the world became obsessed with it. Buffy was labeled a ‘harlot’ and a ‘wanton woman’ by so many people. Rumors circulated that she was sleeping around with every man in Hollywood. She spent most of those days in a catatonic trance but the fallout still seemed to soak into her brain through osmosis. It was the worst time in her whole entire life. It didn’t help that neither Riley nor Spike actually bothered to publically refute the rumors.

Of course, Riley was busy having his nose reshaped by his cosmetic surgeon and Spike was awaiting his trial for his assault on Riley.

“Tell me more about the night. Was it ‘horrible’ because Riley was injured by…Spike? Or is there some other reason?” Tara probed.

Buffy’s eyes snapped up to her therapist’s. The ‘relationship’ between her and Spike was a subject she had studiously avoided in all her discussions so far with the doctor. Although she had mentioned him in passing, it was too painful to delve into that area. She wasn’t even really sure why it was so agonizing for her, but it didn’t really matter what the reason was. All that was important was that she didn’t believe she could risk the pain.

However, Tara’s non-judgmental, open expression kicked open the floodgates in Buffy’s heart and within seconds, she crumpled into a sobbing mess.

Tara handed Buffy a tissue and gazed at the shorter girl with pity in her eyes. “You can talk to me, Buffy,” she told her sympathetically. “I’m guessing there’s more with this Spike situation that you’ve told me.”

“I don’t know what to say. It hurts to talk about it.” Buffy dabbed at her eyes with the Kleenex. “Spike and I have a history. It started six years ago when I met him at a party. I was young, hopeful and I thought he was a good guy. But he deceived me, lied to me, and broke my trust. He made me believe that he wanted me and then he bashed my heart into bite-size chunks. Worse than the lies, he said some things about me on television that…hurt.”

“What things?”

“He called me names. Said I was an ice queen and other stuff,” Buffy muttered quietly, a tear running unheeded down her cheek. The pain of thinking about those comments was just as fresh today as it had been on the day it first happened.

“Do you believe that he was correct?”

Buffy stared down at her hands which were sitting primly in her lap. “Yes,” she choked out. “I think he was right. I think I am cold on the inside. I’m not sure that I even know how to love.” She sniffled pathetically and turned her eyes to Tara. “All of my life I’ve been this tool for other people to use or an idol for people to worship. But they don’t care about the real me.”

“I think maybe you need to start caring about the real you, Buffy,” suggested Tara. “Do you believe that Spike cares about the real you?”

“I don’t know. I think he thinks that he does but he doesn’t really know the real me.”

“Then why don’t you let him get to know the real you?”

“I wish it was that easy.”

“Perhaps you could contact him? Do you know where he is?”

“He was doing community service for punching Riley,” Buffy told her, a small giggle escaping her lips as she pictured Spike in a candy striper’s uniform or as part of a chain gang. However, the humor was tempered when she remembered that he was only doing the community service because he’d stepped in to defend her honor. Time had cooled her anger at his intervention and morphed into a kind of fuzzy gratitude. “Or so I heard anyway.”

“So you’re not in contact with Spike?” Tara asked, her face schooled into a blank expression.

“No, we haven’t seen each other since Riley-gate.”

“And is that a positive thing?”

Was it a positive thing?

It really should have been. She still felt betrayed by Spike, even after all these years. If there was one thing that no one could overestimate about Buffy, it was her ability to hold a grudge.

“Buffy?” Tara’s voice pulled the blonde back from her musings. “Is it a positive thing that you haven’t seen Spike?”

“It should be!” Buffy licked her lips, frustrated. “I should be happy that I haven’t seen him, right? I mean, I didn’t see him in like six years and I was doing just fine. Fine and dandy actually. In fact you might have called me the dandiest and you’d still be underestimating just how fine I was doing. I don’t need him because all he does is bring me pain. I’m so much better when I’m a Spikeless Buffy instead of a…a Spiked Buffy. He just…”

Tara tried to suppress her look of concern but Buffy caught it.

“Oh God!” sighed the actress. “Now I’m babbling like a crazy person, aren’t I?”

“Well, we don’t use the word crazy in here,” Tara reminded her, licking her lips worriedly. “But yes, yes you are.”

The two women smiled at each other, and Buffy sighed. She felt like a fruitcake with a capital fruit right now, and her therapist was experienced enough to pick up on her inner tumult.

“I think you have your own answer,” said Tara gently. “There’s a dichotomy between what you believe you should feel and what you actually feel. You need to stop allowing your fear of other’s perceptions to keep you from doing what you want to do.”

“I don’t know how. They all expect me to be perfect.”

“Buffy, one of your major problems is the pressure you put on yourself. Your stress levels are through the roof. You need to take a rest. You told me yourself during your first session that you almost had a total meltdown.”

“I’m already taking a semi-vacation,” Buffy pouted sullenly.

“Then it’s time to take the other half of the semi.”

“I don’t know,” Buffy frowned.

“Perhaps a trip home might help,” Tara suggested. “Sometimes getting back to our roots can help us figure out where we’re headed.”

Buffy nodded, thinking that maybe Tara was right. She could head back to Sunnydale for a few weeks and bask in her Mom’s comforting presence. It wasn’t often that she got to enjoy her mother’s company these days, so it would be a rare treat for her.

“Yeah, although I’m totally not going to think about Spike in Sunnydale. This will be a Spike-free vacation. No bad thoughts. It’s the best thing for me.”

Tara looked a little stricken at Buffy’s declaration. She knew that the younger blonde’s heart was somewhat closed to affection, but from what she’d heard about Spike, she didn’t believe he would be bad for Buffy at all. In fact, ignoring her feelings for the former porn star would only cause her more unhappiness in the long term, and also a possible stomach ulcer.

“There’s just something that I think might help you to think about, Buffy.” Tara met Buffy’s dewy green eyes with absolute seriousness. “Sometimes the good guys and the bad guys can’t always be taken at face value. Just because a person has some past skeletons in their closet doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of redemption. If you have feelings for someone, then you have to judge them on who they are now in the present. Their past is irrelevant, and their outward persona is irrelevant. What’s inside their heart is all that counts.”

“He’s still got the whole porn star tag printed on his forehead,” Buffy said sadly. “Even if I wanted to be with him, what would other people think?”

“Do other people really matter?”

“Uh…yeah.”

“Why, Buffy? Why would other people’s opinions determine your actions?”

Buffy crammed her palms between her knees and swallowed. “I don’t want them to not like me. I’m scared, Tara. I’m scared that if I do something to piss off the world them I’m gonna be just a washed up ex-somebody. I don’t know any other way of life than this.”

“Sometimes people will surprise you, Buffy. You may think that the public would condemn you if you had feelings for Spike. In actuality it could turn out to be the exact opposite.”

“But I don’t have feelings for Spike,” Buffy denied pointedly.

Tara didn’t miss the slight twitch in the corner of her left eye as she spoke the words. “Don’t you?”

Buffy sighed, putting her head in her hands. “I don’t know,” she finally admitted. “I know that I shouldn’t because it’s wrong. He’s treated me badly from the start but…there’s just something that pulls me back to him.”

“He did defend your honor,” Tara pointed out, looking up from the notepad in which she was scribbling notes from the session.

“He also spit all over my honor,” countered Buffy, immediately feeling defensive.

“That’s true, but you said he’s changed from the man he used to be? And like I said, the present is what matters, not the past.”

Buffy nodded reluctantly. “Yes, he’s changed but he’s still Spike.”

“And that’s bad?”

“Yes!”

“Why?”

Buffy huffed out a wad of air that seemed to have balled up in her lungs. “Because he’s annoying, obnoxious, rude and…he’s a liar!” She said the last word with such gleeful triumph that Tara quirked an eyebrow in inquiry.

“Does that make you happy, Buffy? Do you want him to be a liar for some reason?”

“No!” Buffy denied hotly. “Maybe! I don’t know! Why don’t you tell me? You’re the goddamn shrink around here, not me!”

Tara shrugged nonchalantly. “I think you do want him to be a liar.” Buffy made to interrupt but Tara held up a hand. “You need to create a barrier between the two of you. If you can achieve that then it makes it easier to stay away from him. Accepting that he’s changed, or even that he’s trying to change and become a better man, is dangerous for you. It’s dangerous to the wall you’ve constructed around your heart.”

As much as Buffy tried to deny it to herself, it was impossible to totally repress her emotions for her former co-star when Tara was looking at her like that. Her new therapist was way too insightful and good at her job for Buffy’s liking. It would be so much easier if the other woman was a useless quack.

“Fine!” yelled Buffy, throwing her arms upward. “I do have feelings for Spike. Feelings of the warm and fuzzy kind. I had them from the very first moment I met him and I locked them away because he hurt me and I was mad at him. And because…”

“It’s okay to admit it, Buffy,” prompted Tara.

“Because…if I let myself, I could fall for him. Totally fall for him so hard that there’s no way back. I can’t lose myself like that, Tara.”

She slipped forward off of her chair and the older woman drew her into a hug, allowing her to sob out her pain.

She knew Tara was right. She was keeping the barrier high and steady but it petrified her to risk her heart.

Whenever she put her heart on the line it seemed to always end up crushed.

The fact was that it was terrifying to think about her feelings for Spike, but the man had defended her honor and he had been loyal and true to her, in spite of her obvious contempt for him. Maybe he really had changed. Maybe it was safer to let herself fall now.

Was it fair to keep being mad at him because of a remark he make about her years ago, or because he’d told her a grayish lie or two, or because he used to have sex for a living?

Okay maybe the last one was valid, but he’d changed, hadn’t he?

He’d gone straight, so to speak, and even received two accolades for his appearance on some daytime soap since the last time she crossed paths with him.

But it didn’t really matter now anyway. Even if she was willing to forgive him and look past his past, she’d already screwed up her chance. He was dust on the mists of time to her now.

It was too late. And there was nothing she could do to change that.

++++++++++


Sitting on her hotel room bed, Buffy contemplated her sessions with Tara. They’d been doing her a lot of good. At least, it seemed so. Each session seemed to improve her mood. She was finally figuring things out.

Especially about Spike.

For almost six years her feelings about Spike had proved to be a mire of confusion. Whenever she dared to step into that territory they tried to pull her down. But with Tara’s help she’d been able to work through them.

Her therapist was right when she told Buffy that her heart was a walled fortress, keeping Spike from cracking through. Out of all the men she’d ever dated, or come close to dating, Spike had managed to have the most profound effect on her. Every bad thing that he ever did was exaggerated a million times in her mind because otherwise he might just burrow through to her core and then…

Then she might truly fall in love with him which would give him the opportunity to really hurt her.

A heavy knock on the door brought her out of her thoughts.

“Come in,” she called smiling at Giles as he entered tentatively.

“Buffy, how are you, my dear?” he asked cautiously. He was getting used to being cautious around Buffy these days. He never knew if he’d get upbeat-Buffy, horribly depressed-Buffy or slightly unhinged-Buffy.

“I’m okay Giles. You can unclench.” She smiled wryly and beckoned for him to take a seat on the end of the bed.

“I’m glad to hear it. I actually have a reason for being here. I have a script for you to read, if you’d like,” Giles said gently. The girl had been so fragile lately that he didn’t want to do anything to set her off.

“Hmm?”

“It’s a good television prospect for you. A steady job would allow you to settle down perhaps. Don’t you want that?”

Did she want that?

For so long she’d lived out of a suitcase flitting from one hotel to another. It was the lifestyle she’d gotten used to and the thought of being tied to one place was damn scary.

“I’ll give you some time to think it over,” Giles told her, seeing that he wasn’t going to garner a response from her right now. “You might be interested to know that Miss Keyes is also reading for a part on this show. You got along quite well with her on Murder Most Strange didn’t you?”

Buffy nodded. In the short time she’d known the younger brunette, the girl had become the closest thing she’d had to a friend in…well ever.

“Yeah, she’s a good kid, but Giles, I’m not sure I can think about any of this right now,” she said quietly. “Working takes commitment and I can’t do that right now.”

“Buffy what are you saying?”

Without looking at him she made a decision. “I need to take a break. Away from this city, away from the limelight, away from…” Spike.

Of course she left his name unspoken but it still echoed inside of her mind. No matter how much she tried not to think of him, this city was saturated with memories of every step of their pseudo relationship.

“Well whatever you think is best, Buffy,” agreed Giles.

Buffy didn’t know what was best.

She just hoped she would find out soon.
Chapter End Notes:
Thank you for reading and please review. :)

I know there hasn't been a lot of Spuffiness in the past couple chapters but I promise some more is on the way very soon. :)
Chapter 14 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
Thanks for the reviews. :)

This is my second update today, so if you haven't read the previous chapter yet, please read it before this one.
Spike was dreaming.

He knew it was a dream because there was a warm, wet mouth enveloping the bulbous head of his cock while a pair of dewy green eyes gazed up at him adoringly.

Buffy’s warm wet mouth and Buffy’s green eyes.

She would milk him with her fingers, lips, tongue, and teeth until he felt like his balls were being sucked out through the eye of his dick. Then she would clamber atop him and ride him at a gallop until his knees buckled and his eyes rolled up in his head.

Her warm wetness surrounded him like a velvet glove. He could almost taste the succulent juices that were trickling down her thighs. Her tiny pants and moans echoed in his head so clearly that he could imagine they were really. He could even taste the saltiness of her sweat as it pooled between her two perky little breasts.

It was the sweetest kind of pleasure. That is until he woke up and it twisted itself into the most agonizing pain.

He didn’t kid himself that the woman would ever want him for real so he had to find his sanctuary in the cradle of Morpheus. It was the only salve for his abused soul right now.

“You’re such a big boy!” dream Buffy always whispered to him. “You make me so wet, my love."

It had been years since the blond had experienced a wet dream like an overexcited teenager, but every night he woke up with his sticky spendings coating his inner thighs. Every single night without fail she allowed him to love her. And every single night she whispered the words he longed to hear into his ears.

“I love you, Spike.”

Just his bloody luck he’d never hear them outside of a state of unconsciousness. Pushing down the dull ache inside of him, Spike heaved himself from his makeshift bed and stumbled over to the refrigerator. There were still a few beers left in there even though he’d drunk the rest of the house dry.

Fuck!

That meant leaving his sanctuary and going outside. He couldn’t face dealing with people because all he wanted to do was to wipe the smug smirks off of their shiny happy faces.

He hated people! He hated Buffy!

But even more strongly than that…he hated himself.

The sad truth of the matter was that he had too much time to think. His mind was a maelstrom of destructive reflections and he couldn’t seem to find a way to lasso them and rein them in.

He’d spent a whole month like this, ever since he finished the court ordered community service that he received thanks to his little run in with Riley Finn’s snout. He knew how pathetic it was, but he actually preferred having to plant trees in the San Fernando Valley to sitting around drinking all day long. At least when he was doing hard labor his mind had an actual focus.

Now he only had one single minded focus.

Buffy Summers.

He needed her like he needed the air to breathe. She was so deeply embedded in him that he would happily be her willing slave if it meant she would touch him. He wished there was some way to make it happen.

Of course, moping in the privacy of his small San Diego bachelor pad wasn’t going to help him get the girl but right now he didn’t care. Beer was his best buddy and it wouldn’t spit hateful words at him or make him feel like something it scraped off of the bottom of its shoe.

A crash that sounded like it came from the kitchen yanked him out of his depressing thoughts and he surged to his feet. The blond grabbed a half empty beer bottle from the table to use as a weapon against the intruder. Spike didn’t have any pets so he figured he was about to beat the guts out of some poor sap.

However, when the intruder just came sauntering around the corner and took a seat on the chair opposite him, he scowled.

“Clement!” he exclaimed. “Now, what the buggering hell are you doing here?”

Clem shrugged, stroking a hand over his close cut black hair, his blue eyes glinting in the dull light. “Nice to see you too,” he said wryly, immune to the other man’s wild mood swings.

The pair of them had known each other a long time. They met when Spike first got into the adult entertainment industry. Clem was an illustrious director of the genre and he’d given Spike one of his first big breaks on the movie ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Me.’

At first they’d formed a tentative friendship, bonding over women and poker, but now Clem was probably the best friend that he had. However, it didn’t mean he liked the other man invading his wallowing time.

“I’ve been worried about you, man!” Clem exclaimed, running a hand over his cowlick. “I’ve been trying to call you for days and it’s like you just fell off the end of the earth. So here I am.” He grinned.

“Are you daft?” Spike asked the man standing in front of him. “You can’t just run around busting into people’s private homes!”

Clem ignored him and stepped forward, ignoring the rotten smell that assailed his nostrils as he drew closer to his friend. “You can when people don’t pick up their telephones or answer their doors in a month. Christ, man! We all thought you were dead or something.”

“Might have been better if I bloody was,” the blond muttered under his breath, before reaching for the open bottle of beer that he’d left on the coffee table in front of him.

Clem started with shock when he heard his friend’s words. He had been worried about the other man before but now he feared that suicide might be on the cards and that went absolutely no way at all to reassuring him that Spike was in a state of anything remotely resembling sanity.

He took the chance to look the younger man over, the ball of fear lodging even more profoundly in his gut. Spike’s roots were showing as his natural honey blond color peeked through. He looked as if he hadn’t shaved in a month. Which he quite possibly hadn’t. The blond actor had finished his court referred community service around that time and Clem hadn’t seen him since.

His clothes were bedraggled and wrinkled. They smelled like they hadn’t been changed in quite a while, not to mention the fact that they were covered in beer stains and god only knew what else.

“Holy crap, Spike,” Clem exclaimed as he eyed the smaller man. “What the hell happened to you?”

Spike shrugged and took another swig of his beer. He didn’t want to listen to Clem right now. There was no way that the other man could understand what he was going through. Spike was sure that even a thousand hot pokers through his skin wouldn’t compare to the excruciating agony of missing Buffy.

It wasn’t as if he hadn’t looked for her either. He’d called up her agent and her puppy-dog manager. He’d even gone to the trouble of contacting her newest little buddy, Dawn. But she was AWOL. Funny that a girl who spent so much of her life in the public eye could seemingly disappear like that.

Well it would be funny if it wasn’t so infuriatingly painful.

“What do you think happened?” Spike said sharply, holding back the tears. “A bloody bird happened.”

“All this over a dame?” Clem said with wonderment. “She got beer flavored nipples or something?”

“Sod off, you git,” Spike groaned, but without any real venom. “She’s special.”

“She must be special to have reduced you to this.”

Spike’s eyes glazed as he thought about just how special she was. He knew that to some extent he placed her on a pedestal where she could do no wrong, no matter how badly she treated him. But he couldn’t help it. Guilt for his past sins against her combined with his own wholehearted way of loving prevented him from acting any other way.

“Come on, man,” Clem tried again, yanking the blond from his thoughts. He placed a calming hand on his old friend’s shoulder. “You need to take a shower.”

“Piss off,” Spike spit nastily, pulling his shoulder from the larger man’s grip. “I don’t want a bloody pissing shower. All I want is…her.”

Clem sighed. He told himself that he should have realized this was about a female! With Spike it usually was. When he’d first met the actor, Spike was pining over some woman from jolly ole England but he’d gotten over her eventually.

Six years ago he’d fallen into another depression and only a whole lot of coaching from Clem had pulled him from that low point. He’d never seen him quite this bad though.

“I still don’t get it. All this for a broad?” asked Clem, lighting himself a cigarette. He was only an occasional smoker but somehow Spike had the power to make him crave a nicotine fix.

“No, all this for a…Buffy.” groaned Spike. The taste of her name on his lips was bittersweet, like caramel laced with acid.

“What’s a Buffy?” Clem wrinkled his brow.

“She’s…she’s…That girl is my everything,” he slurred, his eyes darting wildly as he tried to focus on his friend’s face. “She’s the one that I need to keep my heart beating and my blood flowing. She’s my air and sun, my north and south, my…”

“Okay, I got it,” Clem said firmly, holding up a hand to halt Spike. “You’re into this chick, I understand that. I’m gonna take and guess and say she doesn’t feel the same?”

Spike shook his head and pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes. He knew he was on the verge of unquenchable tears and, no matter how drunk he was, he didn’t want to cry in front of another man.

After all he did still have his manly pride…sort of.

Not that he didn’t understand why she was constantly rejecting him. Over the years he’d consistently proved himself to be a liar, an asshole or a thuggish brute. He couldn’t help but feel that he’d cultivated her contempt with his own actions.

With a heavy heart he thought back to his worst betrayal. The one that he believed didn’t make him any better than Riley Finn.

When a live, in color photograph of his clandestine meeting with Buffy at the diner appeared on the front of more than one gossip rag the next week, Spike wasn’t sure how he felt about it. A part of him rejoiced in seeing their rendez-vous exposed to the public. It cemented the fact that it was actually real.

And it Spike’s mind that meant that there was something real between him and Buffy.

The internet forums were full of hearsay about America’s sweetheart lowering herself to date the sex star. Some people even expressed their disgust with the union, which infuriated Spike.

Of course, Buffy denied that there was any connection between her and the lowly porn star. In a statement she claimed that she had inadvertently met Spike without realizing his line of work and immediately severed all connections with him as soon as she became aware of his work as a porn star. Despite the fact that it was the truth laid bare, it stabbed deeper into Spike and encouraged the growth of his depression.

Over the course of the next few weeks the rejection festered and turned bitter, like juice turning sour. And everything came to a head when he agreed to appear on Glorificus, one of the most notorious chat shows in the whole country.

Glory Barker, the host of Glorificus, was renowned for being a hard-nosed, hard-assed bitch. She asked the questions that really cut to the heart of the issue. She’d even been single-handedly responsible for ending more than one career and relationship in her time.

The first part of his interview with her was actually seemingly tame. However, he could tell that she was just biding her time before she pounced on him. The woman was like a cat taunting a mouse before it finally went in for the kill. So when the question came, he was expecting it.

“Come on now, spill the beans, Spike.” Glory leaned forward conspiratorially, her ample bosoms peeking out of her low cut dress. “Are you and Buffy Summers really an item?”

Spike was about to deny it, but a sudden anger rose up in him. The bitch had rejected him because she didn’t think he was good enough for her. She’d jilted him because of his job. He didn’t owe her or her reputation any favors. He smirked at Glory.

“Nah,” he told the curly haired blonde. “Nothing between me and her.”

“You’re not an item?” Glory said with a sly glint in her eyes. “But the two of you were pictured together. And it looked like more than a friendly kind of meeting.”

Spike frowned. The photo hadn’t shown anything other than the two of them sitting together in the diner, but people always formed their own wild interpretations of things. “I thought about it, but I didn’t think the chit was worth a go.”

A smirk formed on Glory’s over-painted face at his words and she leaned forward, her butt almost slipping off the edge of the couch. “And why would that be?” she asked breathily, as if she was about to climax right there.

Spike glanced around awkwardly at the audience, who were all sitting on the edge of their seats too, and turned straight to the camera. “Buffy Summers is what I like to call fools’ gold. She seems like a good bet for a shag but it’s all smoke and mirrors with her. The chit isn’t worth a dime. When you get to know her she’s an ice queen, mate.”

Glory sat back against the couch with a satisfied, triumphant look on her face and tossed her hair over her shoulders. “You heard it here first, people,” she told the cameras. “Buffy Summers is nothing more than an ice queen.”


Guilt assaulted him as he came out of the memory, his heart aching with regret. What he wouldn’t give to take that back now! Unfortunately, short of a time machine he was pretty much screwed in that respect. His posture slumped dejectedly.

“Maybe I should just give up.”

“You’re no quitter,” Clem replied like a middle aged, one man pep squad.

“I think I’m getting to the point where I’m embracing being a quitter.”

Clem patted his friend on the back, scrunching up his nose as another wave of unwashed Spike odor hit his nostrils. “Listen, man, you can fight for the one you love, or you can let her go. But don’t lose the girl by default. If you love her, really love her, then fight for her goddamn it. If she’s the one for you, you have to make her see that you’re the one for her. No substitutes, no excuses. Just you and her. So what’s it to be, champ?”

“I want her! Of course I bloody well do but that bird doesn’t give a toss about me. I could be dead for all she cares.”

Clem rolled his eyes and sank down on to the couch next to Spike. Trying not to gag from the smell that was wafting off his friend Clem flashed him a reassuring smile. “You’re a good catch, man. If I was a girl I’d be all over you.”

Spike quirked an eyebrow. “You know I don’t swing that way, right? I mean for the right money I might…”

“Dude! I don’t want to get into your pants. I’m trying to say she’d be a fool to turn you down.”

Spike scoffed bitterly. “Then color her foolish, I suppose. She’s probably off shagging some new oversized hall monitor right now anyway. Seems that’s her type. Tall, dark and moronic.”

“Woo! You got the jealousy bug bad,” Clem observed, shaking his head. He was getting increasingly worried for his friend by the moment.

“That’s it!” With a flash of sudden inspiration the blond haired man rose to his feet and started to pace. With the amount of alcohol in his blood stream he was a little wobbly but he was inspired and he wasn’t going to let this plan slip through the sieve that was his brain. “That’s what I bloody well need. I need jealousy bait.”

“What?” Clem scratched his head, watching his suddenly hyper maniacal friend bounce on his feet.

“Bait! A way to draw the bird to me. It’s a well known fact that women always want what they can’t have.” Clem frowned skeptically but Spike pushed on excitedly. “If I make myself unavailable she’s going to wet her panties in desire.”

“I don’t know…”

“Trust me mate! My whole damn business is about sexual attraction, so I know something about this, okay?”

Clem sighed. “Okay let’s say I buy the premise. It’s risky, man. How would it work anyway? Sure, you can make yourself unavailable but how’s she even going to see that you’re taken?”

“I just have to make her see it. It shouldn’t be too hard right?” Spike looked at his friend hopefully. “You can make it happen, can’t you? Hook me up with some actress or singer? Not Harmony.”

“I can try but I’m not sure it’s the best thing…” Clem interjected but Spike barreled right through his objection.

“Get us photographed by some magazine and we’re in the money.” He started to hum under his breath as he contemplated the possibilities. He was positive that as soon as Buffy saw him with someone else she would seethe with jealousy. It would draw her back to him like a moth to a flame and…voila.

“Maybe you should take a minute before you make any definite plans, dude…”

Once again Spike wouldn’t listen to Clem’s objections. He was sure that his plan would work. Buffy would fall to her knees to worship him as soon as she realized that someone else could snap him up at any time. “So that’s settled then.” Spike grinned with renewed hope and vigor.

Clem continued to frown but nodded slightly. “If it’s what you want then I’m here for you man. I’ll set up the stunt, your girl’ll go nuts with jealousy and then you’ll swoop in and get her back.”

Spike nodded decisively but almost immediately his face fell. “Only one problem. I can’t bloody well find the bint,” He sounded so disheartened, as if all the energy had been sapped from him once again, that Clem wondered if his friend might start bawling. He shifted uncomfortably at the thought.

Oh well, Clem to the rescue again.

“I’m sure I can get a fix on her,” Clem offered with another reassuring smile.

“You can do that?”

“I can try. I knew her manager back in days before he was so prim and proper. That boy was a wild one in his days.” Clem grinned nostalgically. “I can try calling in a favor from him. The boy owes me more than one. He might have changed but ole Ripper doesn’t let a friend down when he’s in need.”

“Appreciate it, mate,” Spike said, woozily sauntering over to his friend and offering him a solid pat on the back. “It’s good to have a wingman.”

“Well I want to see you happy. And not just the ‘eating buffalo wings, drinking beer’ kind of happy. I’m talking the ‘all out flush of love’ happy.”

“If it pans out then I think this could be that kind of happy,” Spike said, visualizing his golden goddess as he spoke. “This girl’s something else.”

“She’s that special, huh?”

“She’s the most wonderful woman on this earth. Buffy’s smart, even though she probably doesn’t realize it, and incredibly beautiful. The bird lights up every room she walks into. I can’t explain it, mate. But I think I’ll bloody well wither away and die without her.”

“Hey, you won’t be doing any withering on my watch,” Clem replied, sniffling after hearing Spike’s heartfelt speech. “Now you go get cleaned up and then you can start trying to get your girl back.”

“Thanks, mate,” smiled the blond. “You’re a good bloke.” Spike padded into the bathroom whistling a jaunty tune, leaving Clem staring after him.

His manager just hoped that Spike knew what he was doing this time. He had a feeling that any more rejections by the object of his affections would leave Spike totally crushed.

He sighed. He didn’t have the best feeling about this.

++++++++++


With Clem’s words still swirling in his brain, Spike stepped under the cool spray of the shower. For the first time in a while he actually felt more positive about his quest for Buffy. Suddenly she didn’t seem so unreachable. Add a dash of jealousy to the mix and he was sure she’d been falling to her knees at his feet.

Of course, that image conjured up thoughts of a more perverted nature.

He wrapped his hands around the thickness of his milky cock and began to pump it steadily using the soapy water as a lube. Behind his closed eyelids, Buffy slipped off her clothes and dropped naked to her knees in front of him. The blonde met his eyes and licked her lips predatorily. He envisaged Buffy’s hands taking the place of his own to bring him off. The thought of her kneeling in front of him, her little pink tongue working the end of his dick sent shudders wracking through him, and he had to brace himself against the tile.

As he imagined her slipping the whole length of his cock into her throat, his hand worked his dick frantically, the pressure building within him.

It wasn’t long before his eyes were rolling back in his skull and his load was spurting from the head of his dick. Her name spilled from his lips as he slumped against the cool tile of the shower wall.

“Buffy!” he hissed with pure carnal desire. “Bloody hell!”

He really needed to feel Buffy surrounding his currently softening appendage.

And soon.

Or he might just lose his mind.
Chapter End Notes:
Hope you enjoyed. :)

Chapter 15 by Starlight_Slayer
Taking Tara’s advice about trip home, for the first time in almost a year, Buffy returned to her hometown of Sunnydale.

They say that you can never go home, and in some ways that is true. It didn’t feel like home to Buffy anymore, although it still retained that innate feeling of security that she once enjoyed there. However, she figured that feeling of safety was mostly caused by her Mom’s home cooking. After living on celery sticks and raw cucumber for the past year, a home-cooked steak was heaven for her.

One definite advantage to the small town was that despite her fame, she was able to walk the streets more freely in Sunnydale. The paparazzi didn’t seem to hound her as much as they did elsewhere. It was like they were somehow terrified of small town America as if it was paparazzi-kryptonite or something. Buffy couldn’t understand it, but she didn’t question what she was thankful for. She could even head to the store without her cap in place and leave there photograph-free.

Unfortunately, it was on one of those store-bound outings that she saw it. The headline splayed across the front of US Weekly that made her feel sick to her stomach. Although this time the headline wasn’t an exposÚ of her bedroom activities, it felt like an even harder punch to the stomach than if it had been.

“Spike Pryce and Cordelia Chase: A Match Made in Hollywood.”

The damn headline was sprawled across the front cover of that stupid goddamn rag with a small photo of the pair of them clutching each other’s hands. For several moments she had to swallow convulsively when she almost spit up in her mouth.

Without thinking, she grabbed for a copy of the magazine and flicked to the story, soaking up the details of the apparently enamored couple. Seemingly, they met at a restaurant almost a month ago and found love at first sight. They had been joined at the hip ever since. There were even some accompanying pictures of the pair walking down the street with matching sunglasses and, even more sickeningly, matching grins.

“Didn’t take long, did it?” Buffy hissed to herself. “Guess ‘love’ isn’t worth much these days.”

Buffy had met Cordelia Chase several times over the years and they pair had never gotten along. The sultry brunette was one of those classic beauties who looked down on everyone around her. Buffy figured that if she looked up the word: ‘snob’ in the dictionary, she would find a perfectly posed picture of Cordelia right next to it.

The thought of Spike dating the bitchy brunette filled the pit of her stomach with violent nausea and for a moment she thought she might gag right there in the middle of the store. Taking a deep breath she managed to calm herself, and chant her usual mantra that she didn’t even care about Spike at all, so this really didn’t make a difference.

Except that she did care. She admitted that to Tara, and even to herself. But right now, not caring was the only way to get through the pain.

So that was what she was going to do.

Against her better judgment, Buffy found herself paying for the copy of the magazine along with the rest of her groceries, which included several pints of ice cream. Hey, if she was going to torture herself, she was prepared to do it in style.

The next few days were spent in the last stop to Mopeville. Buffy was officially depressed and even her Mom’s hugs couldn’t get through to her. She thought about calling Tara but dismissed the idea quickly. No doubt her therapist would be forthcoming with the rationalization and Buffy wasn’t ready to rationalize. Instead, she preferred to mope and fester.

She couldn’t exactly explain why she was even so upset. Her first reaction was that it was just anguish about the fact that she never seemed to hold down a steady boyfriend, while love fell into the laps of people like Cordelia Chase and Spike Pryce.

When she was having a moment of clarity, however, she did acknowledge that she was a little jealous. Spike had confessed his love to her only a couple of months earlier and yet he’d apparently already moved on with someone else.

Well, at least she had ice cream, which was a lover that would never leave her. Buffy actually couldn’t think of many bad things about ice cream. Well there was the getting morbidly obese part if you ate too much, but right now she didn’t care about that.

The only thing that bothered her about the frozen treat was when she was all out of it. After a week of moping in her pajamas, watching soppy old movies and chowing down on her comfort food, she finished the last of it and felt like crying.

“Mom!” she shrieked, affecting her best pout. “Mom!”

Joyce Summers came careening into the room, worried that Buffy had suffered some terrible accident from the timbre of her voice. When she saw her daughter was just fine and sitting sprawled on her bed she groaned.

“I thought the aliens were invading from your yelling,” Joyce reprimanded her daughter. “What’s wrong?”

Buffy wordlessly held up the empty ice cream tub, eliciting an eye roll from her mother.

“Did you eat all that junk already?” she said in a motherly tone. “That’s not like you Buffy.”

“Why can’t it be like me?” Buffy retorted petulantly. “Why can’t I do something crazy or stupid for once? Why the hell do I always have to be perfect and faultless?”

Joyce held up her hands in a gesture of surrender. “I’m not criticizing you, sweetheart. It’s just unusual for you.”

“Yeah, well I’m trying to be insane-o girl right now,” she laughed in a way that sounded like she’d barreled right past insane-o right into Crazy Land.

“I’m not sure that I like it.”

“I never asked for your opinion, Mother,” Buffy said coldly before shaking her head. “I’m sorry.”

“I don’t know how to deal with your mood swings, honey. I wish you’d tell me what’s wrong with you.”

“Lack of ice cream,” Buffy replied glibly. “You can help with that if you run to the store for me.”

Joyce shook her head. “No, absolutely not. I’m not going to enable you, Buffy. I’ve read books about depression and other things like that and it’s important not to allow you to sink deeper.”

“Please!” she begged her mother. “I can’t go out there right now.”

However, Joyce was holding firm and absolutely refused to pander to Buffy’s needs. The older Summers lady was sick of Buffy whittling her days in her room, enveloped in a toxic state of perpetual sorrow. So if Buffy wanted more mopey-time food, then she would have to damn well get it herself.

“I’m sorry, Buffy. I’m your mother and I love you, but you’re a grown woman now. You need to learn to handle the world yourself,” Joyce said as gently as she could. “Perhaps you could contact Dr. Maclay. I’m sure she can help you.”

Buffy sighed. “Maybe,” she replied distractedly, sorely wanting to curl up in bed with some much needed comfort food.

When her mother finally left her alone, she lay back on her bed staring sightlessly at the ceiling.

How did it all turn into such a mess?

And when did Spike Pryce gain this kind of power over her emotions?


++++++++++


Standing alone in the aisle, staring at the ice cream, Buffy sighed. There was too much choice. One of her main problems was that she often found herself with too much choice and she ended up making the wrong decision.

Well from here on in things were a-changing and the revolution begins with ice cream.

“Hmm, Triple Caramel Chunk or Chocolate Fudge Brownie?” she muttered to herself.

“Personally, I fancy the Fudge Brownie, pet.”

Buffy spun round at the sound of the voice. Her mouth gaped open as her shocked eyes clashed with Spike fierily intense gaze.

“Hello, Cutie,” he said with a smile.

Buffy opened her mouth to reply but found that she seemed to have suddenly forgotten how to speak English.

Running into Spike was the last thing she’d wanted to do. She had that unnerving feeling that he was stalking her.

In spite of the potential stalkage danger, she couldn’t deny that he looked delicious, good enough to eat, even more so than ice cream and so she was suddenly self conscious of the old sweater and sweatpants that she was wearing. Forgetting about her ice cream she marched out of the store with Spike hot on her heels. When he grabbed her wrist to halt her she whirled on him with blazing eyes.

“What the hell are you doing here, Spike?” she asked with a frustrated hiss.

“Shopping,” he replied smugly. “I know you’re not Southern California’s answer to Einstein, but surely even you can work that one out, love.”

“I don’t mean in the store. I mean here, in Sunnydale.”

“Fancied a holiday, love. Surely you can’t have something against a bloke getting a bit of a break from grafting.”

“You just decided to take a vacation?” she said snidely. “In my town?”

“Uh, yeah. Lovely little place this is. Feel right at home here.” He grinned.

Buffy gritted her teeth. “Really? Shouldn’t you be with…oh…I don’t know…Cordelia Chase?”

She wanted to pretend that the rumors of Spike and Cordelia didn’t bother her, so she affected her best nonchalant face as she stared at him.

However, he saw right through her masque. “What? Are you jealous, Kitten?”

“Ha!” she scoffed, a little too quickly and winced on the inside at her overt lie. “As if I’d be jealous of you and that skanky ho. I just figured you’d want to be with her seeing how you’re so in love.” She wanted to retch and heave, but settled for her trademark eye roll instead.

“Cordy’s got a job in New York for the next week,” he told her, lighting up a cigarette and blowing out an insouciant plume of smoke in her direction.

Buffy waved a hand with annoyance clearly written on her features. “Rude much?”

“Come on now, love. You know I can get ruder.”

She made a sound of disgust in the back of her throat and pushed past him. “Go back to LA, Spike. You got a girlfriend now and…just go.”

Okay, this was not how the plan was supposed to go, he thought with a slight hysterical panic. She should be falling at his feet right now, not sending him away.

At her blatant rejection, his attitude shifted. “Just spend one afternoon with me,” he begged.

“And I think I speak for everyone, and by everyone I totally mean me, when I say: ‘huh’?”

“Nothing untoward.” He flicked some ash from the head of his cigarette. “Just you and me, something to eat, maybe talk a walk or catch a movie. As friends. That’s all I’m asking for and if you don’t want to know me after that, then you can kick my ass out of this bloody town. Okay?”

Buffy raised a perfectly manicured digit to her lips and began to nibble on the end of it. Nail-biting was a habit that Buffy thought she’d given up years ago, but apparently Spike had the ability to bring out the worst in her.

She couldn’t believe that she was actually considering spending the afternoon with him. Firstly, he’d gone all stalker-boy on her, showing up on Sunnydale and following her to the store. And to make matters worse, he was dating Cordelia Chase. So nothing could happen between them.

“I don’t think that would be a good idea,” she finally told him.

“Come on, Summers. We have a few things to say and we really need to chat them out.”

“We got nothing to say, Spike.”

“Of course we do, pet. We can talk about all the fun we’ve been having since we last saw each other. Hey, want to hear about all the bloody fun I had doing community service because I knocked out your ex-honeypot, while I was defending you?”

Buffy could hear the slightly accusatory tone in his voice as he spoke and relented in her coldness a little. Guilt over the way she’d reacted to him that night took another bite out of her ass. With Tara’s help she’d come to recognize that Spike’s feelings for her made him protective over her. Instead of channeling his actions into anger, she’d managed to learn how to channel them into gratitude.

She licked her lips and finally plucked up the courage to say what she’d been marinating on since the night of the after party. “I appreciate what you did for me with Riley.”

Spike smiled a genuine smile. “I did it because that bugger shouldn’t even get to stand within a thousand miles of your light.”

Buffy held back a laugh. “Well, thanks. I get that you thought you were being all white knight-y. But I don’t actually need to be saved, you know. I can take care of myself.”

“Ooh, now I’d love to watch you…taking care of yourself.” He licked his lips and caressed the soft curves of her body with his heated gaze.

“Don’t get any ideas, buddy!” she murmured. “I wouldn’t touch you with a ten-foot pole.”

“Last time we touched, you were very interested in my ten-foot pole,” he jeered.

“Conceited much?”

“You love it,” he grinned.

“You remember I didn’t actually touch your…boy parts, right?”

“Unfortunately I do remember that little tidbit. Maybe we should rectify it.”

“I don’t think so, Spike.” She shook her head, hating the fact that his suggestion provoked a warm flush of moisture to coat the lining of her panties. “We can’t do that right now.”

“Right now? So you mean maybe…someday?”

Buffy was about to give him that little crumb he seemed to be begging for when the image of Cordelia Chase filled her mind’s eye. God, he had a girlfriend and he was flirting with her!

Apparently he still hadn’t changed.

“Yeah,” she said snidely. “Our first date can be figure skating in hell. It’s never gonna happen. You just don’t change do you Spike!”

“What are you…?”

“You got a fucking girlfriend and here you are flirting with me. Every time I think maybe you’ve changed, maybe you’re less of a raving asshole than you used be. And you always manage to prove me wrong. Well here’s a newsflash for you, buddy. Cheaters like you don’t interest me. So you can get the hell out of here and crawl back to your slut, okay? ‘Cause I’m not interested in you.”

Buffy’s anger was taking over her body. She wasn’t sure why it was having such a profound effect on her but it was like the fury was controlling her instead of the other way around.

She wouldn’t let him hurt her again.

“Don’t say that!” he yelled, grabbing her forearm desperately, trying to pull her to him. The blonde struggled in his grip, cursing him. With hysterical fever rising inside of her gut, Buffy’s hand snapped back, clipping him across his face. The slap wasn’t hard but it stung.

In more ways than one.

Before the shocked blond could respond, Buffy jogged away, leaving Spike in her wake. His hand shot up to his face to make sure that nothing was broken but luckily everything still seemed intact.

Nevertheless, he cursed under his breath. Phase One of his jealousy plan had gone about as badly as a plan could go. Maybe he should have listened to Clem’s objections. His friend had been hounding him with reasons not to do this for the past couple of weeks, ever since he formulated the little plan.

Still fingering his stinging cheekbone, Spike sighed. “Know you’re buggered when the only positive to a plan is that you didn’t end up with a wonky schnozzle,” he muttered under his breath before sinking down to sit on the curb.

Okay, so the first part of the plan had pretty much bombed. But he wasn’t giving up yet.

He had another trick up his sleeve.
Chapter End Notes:
Please review. :)
Chapter 16 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
Thank you so much to everyone for the reviews and for sticking with this story. Sorry for the delay in posting this chapter but here it is now. :) Enjoy.
As soon as Buffy arrived home, she bounded up the stairs to her bedroom and slammed the door. Leaning her head back against the cool wood, she gathered her senses. Seeing Spike had been a horribly unexpected shock to her system. He’d looked so good that she had almost agreed to his little proposal.



Until she remembered one small detail.



The bastard had a girlfriend now.



With shaking hands she fumbled in her purse, finally pulling out her cell phone and dialed a familiar number.



“Hi, Tara?”



“Buffy?” The blonde smiled when she heard the surprised yet comforting sound of Tara’s voice on the other end of the line. Her therapist had only given her personal number to Buffy for use in emergencies, but this definitely fell smack dab into the middle of that category.



“Are you free? I kinda need to talk?” Buffy screwed her eyes tightly shut as the emotions threatened to break through.



“Uh, sure, Buffy,” Tara said, although she sounded curiously flustered. “What’s wrong?”



“Spike’s dating Cordelia Chase and now he’s in Sunnydale wanting to out with me even though he’s already got a girlfriend and the two of them are already posing for magazines but apparently that doesn’t matter because he’s moved on so fast anyway that I don’t even know what to think and…”



“Whoa there, Tiger!” Tara interrupted. “It’s okay to take a breath once in a while, you know.”



“Sorry,” Buffy said sheepishly. “It’s just bugging me. He’s apparently moved on with someone else but he’s here! I came here to get away from thinking about him and now he’s in my town!”



“He’s in your town and he’s dating someone else?”



“Yes!”



“But she’s…not there?”



“No, she’s not here but they’re a couple! Ugh, he’s such a man-slut. I should have known. I can’t believe I ever thought about trusting him.”



“Well, did you ask him to explain himself?”



“Uh, not exactly. There was some banteryness and I kinda…slapped him and ran away from him.”



“I see.” Tara sighed. “Buffy, this is one of the things we’ve worked on. You can’t make assumptions based on scraps of facts. You say you saw him with his new girlfriend in a magazine, but how many times have you found falsehoods about yourself printed in magazines?”



“A couple times,” Buffy said, still mired in denial.



“Do you really believe that Spike would move on to another woman and then continue to pursue you? Surely if he’d moved on he wouldn’t be in Sunnydale right now.”



“Maybe he wanted to rub my face in it,” Buffy hedged, swallowing the bile that rose in her throat.



“Do you really believe that?”



“I don’t know,” Buffy said sadly. “I wish I had the answers. I wish I knew what he was felling. Hell, if we’re wishing for things, then I wish I knew what I was feeling right now.”



“I suggest you try to find Spike and talk to him before you make yourself crazy over this,” Tara encouraged her. “And, Buffy…I think the fact that you’re jealous should perhaps…tell you something about your feelings for Spike.”



“Oh ho! No way am I jealous! If Spike’s moved on with that nasty little skank then why should I care?”



“Buffy…really?”



“Okay, so what if I’m jealous? The only thing that little revelation tells me is that my heart has lost its tiny mind.”



“Buffy you can trust your heart,” Tara assured her. “If you heart is telling you that Spike is the one for you, then you don’t need to fight that.”



“No! Spike is not the…anything for me. He’s just Spike. And he might be stalking me right now.” Buffy silently congratulated herself on trying to throw the conversation off on a tangent, but sadly Tara wouldn’t be deterred from trying to help the actress decipher her feelings.



“It’s really your choice what you do about Spike, but try to remember some of the coping mechanisms we worked on,” Tara reassured her, sounding as calm and collected as ever. “You can’t let this weigh you down, Buffy. That won’t end well. You need to acknowledge your feelings and work through them logically. Ignoring them will only result in feeling worse.”



“I know but I’m scared,” Buffy whispered, so low that Tara barely even caught it. “I’m scared of acknowledging how I feel. Especially when I’m not even sure of how I actually do feel. How can I know? There’s a part of me that thinks it would be okay to let myself feel for him and then as soon as I think it I get so terrified. Because love never goes well for me, Tara. I have this inbuilt device that drives men away. How can I know if I can trust Spike not to hurt me?”



“You’ll know, Buffy. When the time is right, you’ll know.”



“Really?” Her voice sounded so small and lost that Tara’s heart sank. But she’d done all she could to help the other woman. It was up to Buffy to put it all into practice now.



“Really,” Tara agreed. “I’m sorry Buffy, but I really have to go. Don’t hesitate to call me again if you need me, okay?”



“Okay.”



After thanking Tara, Buffy hung up the call and sighed. She did trust that Tara wouldn’t lead her astray but she found it difficult to put any trust in herself. The question of what her abused heart was actually capable of swirled ceaselessly around her weary mind.



Still clutching her phone to her chest, Buffy slumped down onto the bed and let the sound of her tears lull her into a restless slumber.



++++++++++




After a very sleepless afternoon and night, Buffy awoke the next morning feeling drowsy and pissed off. Stupid Spike making her feel bad!



An even deeper sin was that he’d stressed her out so much that she never actually bought her ice cream which meant another trip to the store. Silently she cursed him again and headed out to buy her frozen comfort food.



She left the house early, hoping to avoid seeing Spike again today. In spite of her conversation with Tara the previous day, she didn’t particularly relish the idea of confronting him. In truth she feared that she might receive some answers that she didn’t really want.



What if Spike told her he was madly in love with Cordelia and he’d realized that she was the one he wanted to spend his life with? Buffy didn’t question why he would have come to find her in Sunnydale if that were the case. That would make logical sense and the blonde was feeling anything but logical right now.



Carrying her bags full of ice cream and cookies Buffy finally arrived home, unscathed for once. The blonde had lingered on the mostly deserted streets enjoying the solitude but now she was determined to curl up on the couch with every weepy movie every written and eat her way through several pints of Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. And she so didn’t opt for that flavor because Spike suggested it.



Okay, maybe that was kind of the reason why she selected it.



“Mom!” she yelled as she padded through the front door, dropping her keys on the small oak table by the door. “Are you home?”



“In here, dear,” her mother called back from the kitchen and Buffy headed toward the room. However she stopped still in her tracks as she soaked in the sight in front of her, almost dropping her bags full of high calorie treats.



There, right in front of her incredulous eyes, Spike was sitting at the counter, sipping from a large mug of what looked like hot chocolate. Buffy could see tiny little marshmallows bobbing around on top of the cup full of chocolate-y goodness. The rapport between Spike and her mother looked amicable, like they were actually…friends.



She thought it was probably the strangest sight she’d ever seen.



“Uh, Mom?” Buffy said in shock, glancing between her mother and the bleached pain in her ass.



“Oh, hello Buffy.” Joyce Summers grinned at her daughter. “Spike stopped by to see you earlier.”



“He…stopped by to see me. And he’s still here…drinking hot chocolate…with you.” Buffy narrowed her suspicious green eyes. “And you’re talking…like you’re some kind of talking buddies.”



“Yes,” Joyce said, sipping her own mug of chocolate. “We did get to talking and he’s been telling me all about his life.”



“He did what?!” Buffy choked out. If Spike had told her mother about his life as a porn star, Buffy would tear off his balls and wear them as this season’s latest fashion accessory.



“Yes, Spike is very well traveled. He’s been telling me about all the places he’s seen.” Buffy breathed a silent sigh of relief that he hadn’t enlightened her mother about his less than savory career. “He’s also very interested in art.”



“Oh. Art?” Buffy turned bewilderedly to a smug looking Spike. “You’ve been talking to my mother about art?”



Spike nodded. “Your Mum’s a lovely lady. Reminds me of her daughter actually.” Buffy glared meanly at his offhanded compliment. Why was he being so sweet to her? Her eyes narrowed even more. “She’s been telling me a few interesting stories too. Like the time you decided you were a boy and insisted everyone call you Bertie.”



Buffy blushed crimson and scowled at her mother. “Mom! How could you?”



“Sorry honey. You were only four at the time, so I didn’t think you’d mind if I told that story.”



“Spending the morning with your Mum has been very enlightening, love,” Spike smiled, his eyes locking with hers in an intense battle of wills that Joyce was totally oblivious to. “I feel like I know you so much better now. You should have introduced me to Joyce here earlier. Turns out we have a lot in common.”



“Yes, Buffy,” her mother agreed sincerely. “I wish you’d have brought Spike home to meet me earlier. He’s such a lovely young man.”



Suppressing the choking feeling that was welling up in her chest, Buffy nodded absently at her mother, before focusing her attentions on the smug ex-porn star lounging at her kitchen counter. Dropping her bags on the countertop, she marched over to Spike, grabbed his elbow and dragged him to his feet.



“Could you excuse us, Mom? I really need to talk to Spike.”



Her mother nodded, her face a mask of confusion as Buffy stormed out, pulling the Brit along with her. He didn’t resist her harsh treatment at all. In fact he seemed to relish the contact between them. Buffy tried to ignore the sparks that seemed to ricochet between her fingertips and his skin.



“No need to manhandle me, love,” he mumbled. “If you want to put your hands all over my hot, tight little body, all you have to do is ask.”



Buffy ignored the comment. If Spike started flirting she was sure that she would have another one of her crying jags. Knowing that he was dating someone else at the same time as her long buried feelings for him were starting to surface was like being trapped in the deepest hell. If she opened the door to her heart to him for a single moment, she was sure that she would be lost.



Putting those troubling thoughts out of her mind, she schooled her face into her patented angry scowl. “What the hell was that?” she demanded, as soon as they were alone on the front porch.



“Don’t get your knickers twisted, pet,” he said with a hint of amusement coloring his voice. “I was just sharing some stories with your Mum. Clean stories, before you take those lovely little fists to my face again.”



“I can’t believe you! You think you’re welcome in my house, with my mother?”



“Oi! Joyce didn’t seem to have any problem with me. Of course she’s not a total superbitch like her daughter.”



“What happened to ‘oh your daughter’s so bloody lovely, Mrs. Summers…let me kiss your bloody ass Mrs. Summers’?” Buffy sneered, affecting her best British accent.



“I don’t bloody well talk like that, Summers. And it’s called being polite. It’s little wonder that you’re not familiar with it.”



Feeling her ire rise further, Buffy gritted her teeth and clenched her fists. Her nails were digging into the delicate flesh of her palm so firmly that they were almost drawing blood. “Why are you still here? What part of ‘it’s never gonna happen’ did you not understand yesterday? Would it help if I offered a punch to the face to actually make you get it through your dumb skull? Or how about a kick to the balls? I mean, that is where you keep your brain isn’t it?” She glowered at him, becoming even more infuriated when he merely smirked at her.



“I’ve always had a problem with the ‘never’ part,” he admitted, jokingly. Ugh, why wasn’t he taking this seriously? Buffy felt like her nerves were shot to pieces.



“You’ve always had a problem, period,” she shot back. “I’m serious, Spike. You gotta leave town. Won’t your girlfriend be back soon anyway? Remember her? Brunette, bitch from hell? Although I guess at least she’s a step up from Harmony.”



He grimaced at her words but shook his head. “A dung beetle is a step up from Harmony,” he said trying for humor. However, his face fell when she continued to glare at him. “Look, Cordelia’s not my soddin’ girlfriend okay?” he grunted.



Buffy eyed him dubiously. She didn’t trust the peroxide blond as far as she could throw him, and she had photographic evidence that he was in the midst of a wild romance. “What the hell are you talking about?”



“It’s true!” he insisted when he saw her suspicious look.



“I saw the pictures of the two of you doing the couple-y thing. Friends don’t hold hands and whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears. They just don’t do that. So don’t feed me some bullcrap and expect me to swallow it, Spike.”



Taking out a cigarette, Spike lit it and puffed away, enjoying the familiar burn, before he could muster the energy to explain his actions to her. It was a wonder he hadn’t already smoked himself to death with the shit Buffy seemed to want to put him through. “Love, the thing with me and Queen C…it’s a publicity stunt.”



“Right,” she scoffed, rolling distrustful green eyes at him. “And you’re suddenly coming up with this story now? I asked you yesterday and you didn’t tell me that then.”



“It’s the bloody truth. My agent thought it’d be a good idea to be seen with someone like Cordy.” He chose not to include the fact that Cordelia was his wild card in making Buffy jealously enraged so she would throw herself into his arms. He figured if he admitted that he really would end up visiting the emergency room. “She’s a good girl and if the public see me with her, they start to accept me a bit more into the mainstream. It’s easier to put my past behind me that way.”



Buffy ignored the way his voice lilted when he talked about his past. She didn’t want to decipher his little hidden messages today. “Okay, maybe that’s true but why would Cordelia want to be seen with you?”



“The exact opposite reason,” he laughed, taking a drag from his cigarette. “The unwashed masses can be little buggers sometimes. If you’re seen as too much of a good girl, they want to find dirt on you. You should know all about that, pet. With me, Cordy’s airing her dirty laundry in public, so to speak, and gaining cool points at the same time.” He felt a little guilty that he was lying to her but he figured it was all in a good cause.



Although she might not see it that way if she ever found out.



Buffy suppressed a scoff at the thought of Cordelia Chase being a ‘good girl.’ The brunette hung out with Faith Lehane and that was enough proof for Buffy as to what the other woman was really like. She couldn’t help but feel that Cordelia probably had her own agenda with Spike. However, she didn’t voice her concerns and merely nodded.



“Why didn’t you tell me yesterday? I don’t understand…”



“Love, you didn’t exactly give me a chance to explain anything. As much as I lov…admire you for your…sassiness, sometimes you have to give a poor bloke a chance.”



“I see.” Buffy drew in a sharp breath as she realized what he’d almost said but ignored it. It was always the better route to take. Confronting things always ended in badness.



Although she believed him about Cordelia, that didn’t change the fact that seeing the two of them together had left her seething with jealousy, and she hated that fact.



She hated that he could provoke such a visceral reaction inside of her.



She hated that she cared at all.



“There’s someone else I’d much rather have been seen with, you know,” he whispered, lowering his voice.



Buffy shivered involuntarily. His proximity, the timbre of his voice, and his words were giving her goosebumps of the good kind. She could feel her nerves electrifying in the same way that they always did when he was around her. Except that right now there was none of the usual irritation present.



Right now all she could feel was pure lust.



Maybe it was the revelation that he was actually free and single, or maybe it was the fact that he was here in Sunnydale just to see her. Maybe it was just the way that he was looking at her right now.



But in that moment something shifted between them.



And it made her more scared than ever.



“So what do you say to spending the day together, Lamb?” he asked, hope staining his eyes a deeper blue than usual.



“I’m…not sure.” She glanced up to look at his open expressive face.



“Come on, Kitten. Let’s go and get some ice cream. I know you like that cool, thick treat. I promise to make sure that you have fun. Would never leave a lady unsatisfied, you know.”



“Are we still talking about ice cream?” she asked suddenly realizing how moist the lining of her panties had become.



“Only if you want us to be.”



She caught his gaze, getting lost in its profundity. Two bottomless pools pulled her in, filling her lungs with his liquid passion. He had the unique ability to sweep her away with a single look. Suddenly panicking, she drew back and nodded.



“I’ll be right back,” she said, her voice sounding an octave higher than usual to her own ears.



“What?”



“Don’t uh…don’t move!” She waved her arms frantically at him before ducking under his outstretched arm and disappearing back inside the house.



A bemused Spike stared after her.



++++++++++




“Hey Mom,” Buffy smiled, a little too brightly as she bounced into the kitchen. She leaned against the doorjamb, her eyes tinted with happiness and a touch of hysteria.



“You seem to be feeling better,” her mother commented. “Is it something to do with that nice young man?”



“No! Maybe…You think he’s nice?”



“I think he’s a very lovely young man. And he seems to have quite an effect on you.”



“There’s no…affecting.”



“Honey, it’s okay if you like him,” her mother reassured her. “I know you haven’t lucked out with men in the past. Even though you don’t talk to me about those things, a mother just knows. But in spite of his peculiar name, Spike seems sincere in his affection for you. I think you can trust your heart on this one.”



“You think so?” Buffy chewed on a lip. In some ways her mother was echoing what Tara had told her. The actress trusted both her mother and her therapist.



The problem was learning to trust herself.



“I do think so. Just don’t close your heart off, sweetheart. I’ve seen you do it all your life and I don’t want to see you end up alone. And did you notice?”



“Notice what?”



“Spike…he’s got rather large feet.”



“Mother!” Buffy exclaimed in a scandalized tone.



“I might be your mother but I still notice these things.”



“There is no way to say eww strongly enough, Mom.”



“Don’t be silly.” Joyce grinned. “So where is the nice young man in question?”



Buffy blushed and ducked her head. “He’s waiting on the porch. He wants me to go out with him!”



“Uh huh.” Joyce nodded knowingly.



“Just for coffee or ice cream or something. But oh God! Mommy, help me! What should I do?” Instead of a fully grown adult, the actress sounded like a child in that moment and Joyce felt a pang of regret in her heart. Her daughter had never really gotten a proper childhood in the full force of the limelight and in some ways it had kept her from blossoming into an independent young adult.



Blinking in surprise that her daughter was seeking her counsel in matters of the heart, the older Summers lady quickly concealed her shock. “Ice cream in the middle of winter?” Joyce asked with amusement. “I understand when it’s comfort food, but that boy is edible enough on his own.” She spoke pointedly but Buffy just rolled her eyes. She didn’t want to think about her mother crushing on Spike. However charming the Brit was, that was just way too weird to absorb.



“Okay, really not making with the helpful, Mom. I don’t know what to do!”



“Well, what do you want to do? Do you want to go on a date with Spike?” Joyce rubbed absently at one of her temples as she studied her daughter, waiting for a response.



“It’s totally not a date!”



Joyce exhaled slowly. “Okay, sweetie. Do you want to go out with him at all?”



“Kinda…I mean yes but I don’t know.”



“It’s good to know you’re so decisive dear.”



A scowl touched Buffy’s face for a moment before it melted back into worry. “If I go then he’s gonna think it’s a date.”



“Would that be so bad?”



“No, it wouldn’t. And that’s what makes it worse. Going on a date with Spike…it should be something that makes me run away screaming. A little while ago it would have done exactly that. And it’s totally wiggin’ me out but I want to go. I really do.” Her eyes widened as she realized that was the honest truth. “I want to go on a…a date with Spike.”



Covering her smile at Buffy’s epiphany, Joyce cleared her throat. “Should I not wait up?”



Buffy mock glared at her mother and whirled on her heel, marching out of the room. However, she couldn’t wipe away the smile that threatened to break out on her face.



++++++++++




“Okay!” Buffy said to Spike when she finally came back out of the house.



He was still waiting in the exact spot that she’d left him in. She licked her lips as he turned his smoldering azure gaze to her.



“Okay, what?” He pushed himself forward off of the railing, tilting his head to one side as he waited for her answer.



“I’ll spend the day with you. As friends.”



“Is that what we are, pet?” His finger grazed the underside of her chin. “Friends?”



Buffy allowed her eyes to flutter shut, blocking out his probing gaze. “I hope so, Spike.”



It wasn’t what he wanted. It wasn’t enough for the rest of forever. But for now…it was enough.



Seemingly appeased for the moment, Spike grinned and offered his outstretched arm to the lady next to him. Although she hesitated momentarily, finally she linked her arm through his.



Together they set off through the empty streets of Sunnydale.

Chapter End Notes:
Feedback would be very much appreciated. :)
Chapter 17 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
Sorry for the delay in updating but I have the next several chapters ready to post so hopefully I'll be updating fast.
“So what’s it to be, Kitten?” Spike asked, peering over her shoulder at the vast array of ice cream flavors. He couldn’t suppress the image of any one of those cool treats covering Buffy’s body and licking them off of her.

The pair were standing in the gelato parlor, Spike having already chosen a small cup of the strawberry flavor. However, Buffy seemed a little more indecisive than he was.

Wasn’t that just the story of her life though?

She stared at the selection, her mouth watering in anticipation. “I think I’m gonna go mixy with the flavors.”

“Yeah? Like a bit of variety to spice things up, do you?” His hot breath tickled the back of her neck and she shivered. “I’m a bit like that myself, Goldilocks. Love to try out new things. Could show you sometime…if you’re up for it.”

He was standing so close behind her that she could feel his body heat. A rebellious part of her longed to lean back against him, but instead she nodded and forced a murmured affirmative through her parched lips, not even knowing what she was agreeing to.

“Yeah, you’d like what I’ve got for you, Kitten,” he breathed softly.

His tongue ached to dart out and trace the enticing shell of her ear, but somehow he managed to restrain himself. His large member was already throbbing in his jeans just from being around her and he knew that if he was able to savor her sweet flavor then he’d have an accident in those jeans.

Reluctantly he pulled himself away from the vanilla-scented blonde, under the pretense of finding them a table. In reality, he just knew that his senses couldn’t endure the sweet torture of being allowed so close to her without being able to take her every which way. The kinds of things he wanted to do to her would get them arrested in forty-nine states.

Ambling over to a booth to wait for the girl, Spike sprawled into it and played with his own tub of strawberry gelato. Buffy’s sweet fragrance was still in his nostrils and combined with the cool taste of the ice cream it was heavenly. What wouldn’t he have given to spread that icy treat all over her ruby nipples only to slowly lick it off?

He could think of areas even farther south where he would love to smear it before cleaning it off with his tongue. Only seconds away from messing his pants like an oversexed teenager, he finally noticed Buffy was approaching and breathed a slight sigh of relief. No doubt she would say something bitchy that would soften his turgid cock.

With avid eyes he watched her lithe body as she padded over with a huge container brimming with ice cream. He couldn’t stop himself from caressing her with his eyes as her hips swished this way and that. Although she was only a skinny little thing, she still managed to boast very subtle curves that really got his juices flowing.

“Get what you wanted?” he asked thickly, still trying to quash his arousal, and she nodded.

“Chocolate, coffee and caramel fudge.”

“Sounds like my kind of treat, pet.” He leaned forward to voice his earlier thoughts. “Bet it tastes even better eaten off skin.”

Buffy’s gulp was so fierce that it was actually audible. He was sure that he could hear her heart pounding in her chest and the subtle reddening of her cheeks was easily visible to him. Wasn’t it wonderful to know that even if she disliked him, he was still able to make her body crave him?

But then he supposed that was his talent, making women want him. Bitterly he realized that even though he’d always been able to make them want him, never had he been able to make them love him. Maybe, just maybe he could turn it around with Buffy.

God, he hoped so with all of his heart.

Pulled out of his somber thoughts by the movement across the table, Spike’s dark blue eyes were drawn to Buffy’s lips as her little pink tongue darted out to lick the melting ice cream. Her eyes fluttered shut in pleasure and a groan of satisfaction bubbled from her mouth. One again the blond feared he might explode in his pants when her pouty, cherry lips enveloped the spoon and sucked heartily on it.

Was she tryingto torture him?

Surreptitiously he reached under the table to adjust his uncomfortably engorged cock. The zipper was painfully cutting into the delicate organ even after he adjusted himself, but he knew now that there was no release from his erection when he was around Buffy. She always sent the blood flowing south, and apparently her tongue wasn’t as sharp as usual today so he had no hope for relief.

“Mmm, this is so good,” Buffy unwittingly moaned as the cool creaminess slid down her throat. Her eyes drifted shut and an expression of bliss flickered over her face.

“Yeah, it bloody is,” agreed Spike. However, he really wasn’t referring to the ice cream.

Buffy’s eyes opened and lifted to his. “I think you’re drooling, Spike.”

Amusement sparkled behind her green orbs. She was surprised that she felt no irritation toward him currently. If he’d been perving on her any other time she might have popped him in the nose or insulted him, but right now she couldn’t seem to muster any annoyance.

Maybe it was the fact that he wasn’t being a pain in the ass like usual or maybe it was the fact that her Mom seemed to like him, but Buffy was feeling a weird kind of affection for the blond.

She briefly wondered if this ice cream was laced with happy-drugs.

Absently Spike raised his hand to his lips to check if he was actually salivating over the young blonde and found his face drool free. “Cheeky bint,” he grinned.

“Right, ‘cause I’m totally the one who’s perving on you.”

“I bet you’d love to get a chance to perv at my body, pet. Wouldn’t you like to take a peek at every little nook and…cranny?”

God, how did he make every word sound so damn filthy?

A memory of sitting in a hotel room watching every inch of Spike’s naked body flashed through her brain but she quickly put it to the back of her mind. If she allowed herself to dwell on that recollection then she knew that it wouldn’t be long before her underwear was dripping with her arousal, especially being so close to the star of that little show.

Trying to cover up her thoughts, Buffy rolled her eyes and concentrated on her ice cream. “You wish, Spike. God, I’m gonna get so fat if I keep eating like this,” she whined, eyeing the cup full of yumminess in front of her.

“You’d still be gorgeous even if you weighed a ton, Summers. And you know it.”

“As if!” Buffy scoffed, sticking her spoon in her ice cream and mixing it around. “You so wouldn’t want me that way.”

“That just proves you don’t know me at all, pet,” he sighed, taking a mouthful of his own dessert. “I’d want you however you looked. If you think I just want you for your body, love…well you’re sadly mistaken. I love what you are, pet, how you try…”

“Spike…can we not?”

“I’m sorry, Kitten. I know you don’t want to hear it but I can’t not say it.”

“I thought we agreed to do the friends thing?”

“Friends can’t compliment each other?”

“Of course they can. But telling me that you love me is way more than just a friendly compliment,” she growled. “You’re like the master of word twistiness.”

“What can I tell you, baby? I’m just the master. Feel free to call me that any time.”

“You’d like that wouldn’t you?” she sneered.

“Bloody would, yeah!”

In spite of herself, Buffy found giggles escaping from her lips. “You’re such a pervert,” she laughed. “It’s no wonder you became a porn star.”

“I became a porn star because I didn’t really have a choice.” He slipped farther down into the booth and leaned his head back. “Circumstances sometimes conspire against you. I did what I had to do.”

“I do kinda get it, I guess,” Buffy said, realizing they’d finally arrived at the serious portion. “I mean I know I judged you for it when we first met but you gotta understand why.”

“You care too much what people think about you, that’s why,” he asserted insightfully. “You’re their bloody Messiah and you don’t want to let them down. Rolling around in the filth with the likes of me wouldn’t endear you to them. That simple, isn’t it? Doesn’t take a genius to work out that load of bollocks.”

Buffy openly gaped at his response. She knew he could read her pretty well but never had she imagined that he could read her like a book. Her mouth flopped open and closed like a fish struggling for air before she finally clamped it shut.

“How do you manage to make me like you and not so much make with the liking at the same time?”

“That’s your biggest problem,” Spike theorized insightfully. “You’re a mess of contradictions.”

“I’m so not contradict-y,” Buffy huffed, tossing her hair over her shoulders. “Or messy,” she added with a pout.

“‘Course you are, pet,” he insisted with a wave of his hand. “Look at you. Deep down you long for a place to settle down and call your home, but you live in a bloody hotel. You’ve been living in LA for how many years now? And all you do is move from one hotel to another. Empty, faceless rooms.”

“Did you take a psychoanalysis class?” Buffy asked hotly.

“Don’t need one to work you out, love. You’re not that complicated, even if you think you are.”

“Well you really don’t know as much as you think you do, genius. I have to travel all over for work. Buying an apartment wouldn’t make any sense,” she told him, feeling oddly stung by his words.

She didn’t like the stinging. It was the kind of prickly feeling she got when Spike was in the ballpark of correctness. Not that it happened often, of course.

But on this occasion…

Was he actually right that she resisted the idea of being tied down by refusing to put down permanent roots, even though that was her most profound desire?

Her eyes snapped up to look at him, searching for some kind of laughter behind his eyes. Something that would make her doubt that he believed what he’d told her about herself, or that he was just trying to play on her insecurities. But she found no trace of that. And if he believed it, then maybe it really was true.

Maybe she needed more sessions with Tara.

However, whether or not he was correct, Buffy had no intention of just allowing Spike to dig around inside her brain and pull out any more of her thoughts. So she decided the best form of defense is offense.

“I don’t see you getting all root-y,” she said suddenly, pulling a frown from her companion.

“Well, just shows how soddin’ little you know about me. Doesn’t it, Summers?”

She wiggled in her seat, uncomfortable as he grinned slyly at her. “What does that even mean?”

“I got my own place,” he told her proudly.

“Sleeping in the backseat of your car surrounded by your favorite empty whiskey bottles doesn’t count, Spike.”

“Oi!” He tossed a glare at her. “I’ll have you know that the backseat of my Baby is only used for the fun kind of activities.”

“Eww, gross! And way TMI.”

He carried on as if she hadn’t interrupted. “And besides, I have a real house. The kind with four walls and a roof.”

“I know what a house is, lamebrain.” She smiled to lessen the sting of her words and his heart warmed at the gesture.

“It’s a beautiful little place down in San Diego. Gave me a place to set up home, somewhere I can always head back to when I feel the need. Maybe I could take you down with me sometime.”

Buffy blinked at his offer and nodded. “Maybe,” she hedged unsurely.

“Always need to have a place to call home. Somewhere to keep your heart or you’ll end up lost.”

“You know, Sunnydale’s always been that way for me,” she mumbled, her eyes widening as she realized that was actually true.

Sunnydale was quiet, serene and peaceful. She was able to come here and live like an actual person. Of course, she wouldn’t trade in her career to be a Stepford wife in a small town, but it was nice to know she had somewhere to go when life weighed her down.

“Retreats are all well and good, but you wouldn’t want to come back here forever,” Spike said decisively. “You’d wither and die stuck in a place like this.”

Buffy’s large green eyes almost bugged out of her head as he unintentionally echoed her own thoughts once again. How the hell did he read her so well? If she was the paranoid kind of girl, she might think he’d been studying her.

It was like he was tuned to her wavelength in a way that no one else had ever been. However, for the first time she looked at him through appreciative eyes, reveling in the fact that someone could actually understand her instead of just humoring her.

“It’s one of the reasons why I left,” Buffy told him, playing with her rapidly melting ice cream. “I stayed here for a while even after I got famous. I mean I even started high school here but it kinda limited the whole scale of opportunities. Somehow I always had this idea of Los Angeles as being the Land of Awesome. I never realized the pressure that would come with it all.”

“You didn’t choose this life, love.”

“No, it chose me, but I could have chosen to step out of the light. I couldn’t do that though.”

“You feel like it’s your calling?”

“Yeah, I guess that’s a pretty good way to put it. I feel like I don’t know what I’d do without it. Haven’t you ever felt that way about something?”

“Only about a woman,” Spike admitted quietly, not meeting her eyes. “I’m a bloody fool for love, Summers. I let love chew me up and spit me out and then go back for more. But for a job? Nah! Nothing is that important to me.”

“Well me and the love bug are totally unmixy. As soon as love enters Buffyland it turns sour.”

“That’s because you’ve always dated the poster boys for the ponce-parade.”

Buffy giggled in spite of herself, licking a trickle of melted ice cream off her thumb. “What’s a…ponce?”

“A git.”

“And a git would be?”

“You know…a sod, a wanker, a bloody poofter.” He quirked an eyebrow at her perplexed expression and she laughed again.

“I will never understand British slang. Even after being around Giles I’m still totally confuse-o girl.”

“Fat lot of use Giles has been helping you out with your relationships. Your bloody manager should have stepped in with some of the wankers you went out with. I mean Angel? What the hell was he thinking letting you date him?”

Immediately Buffy bristled, sitting up straight in her seat and glaring at Spike. “He didn’t let me do anything, Spike. I have my own mind and I do what I wanna do. It didn’t take long before I found out on my own what an asshole Angel was.”

“Listen, pet, I didn’t mean anything by that. I just wish you didn’t have to go through all that bollocks with the most enormous arse in Hollywood.”

“It did kinda suck.”

“You can talk about it, you know,” Spike assured her gently.

Searching his eyes for some kind of joke or deception, Buffy came up empty. He looked totally genuine, and she didn’t believe that the peroxide blond was that good of a liar. If he was planning to glean information on her only to taunt her later then she would easily read it on his face. The sole emotion on his face was concern. And maybe there was a little bit of love seeping through.

“Really?” she asked. “You won’t be all…judge-y?”

“I can safely say I’d never be judge-y,” he quipped warmly.

Hesitating for a moment, he finally gave into the urge to touch her and laid a hand over hers. He’d always been a very tactile man, conveying as much through his touch as he did through his facial expressions or words. For a moment she looked as if she would shrug off his warm caress but instead she relaxed her hands, allowing him to keep on touching her.

Buffy didn’t know why she didn’t immediately snatch her hands away from Spike’s but there was something so comforting about letting him touch her. It was as if the intimate contact with him soothed her damaged soul. Tara’s words about following her heart came flooding back to her and this time she heeded the advice. The bleached blond looked as shocked as she felt about it. However, his shock soon morphed into a shy but blissful smile.

“So talk to me, Buffy. Tell me what made you so…reluctant to let your heart love again.”

Finally meeting his eyes, Buffy took a deep breath.

“Okay,” she smiled. “I’ll show you mine and you can show me yours. Deal?”

“Deal.”
Chapter 18 by Starlight_Slayer
Clearing her throat, Buffy kept her eyes fixed on their joined hands. Telling her deepest secrets to Spike wasn’t something that she felt entirely comfortable with.

But Tara had told her that she needed to follow her heart, and she knew that if she was ever to work through her issues then she had to listen to the wise words of her therapist.

“When I met Angel he seemed like the perfect gentleman,” she started stutteringly. “He was sweet but mysterious. I had this image of the two of us as Hollywood’s first couple. God, I was such an idiot. I even had wedding patterns picked out. He said all the right stuff to me, the stuff that made me all…”

“Googly eyed?”

“…all crazy and stupid.”

“So…googly eyed then?”

“Shut up, Spike,” Buffy smiled. “Anyway crazy-Buffy doesn’t make the best decisions and when he wanted to…do stuff, well I agreed to it.”

“You shagged him?” yelled Spike, drawing the attentions of several other patrons. Buffy flushed deeply but Spike didn’t care that. “How the bloody hell could you shag that giant-foreheaded ponce? Everyone knows the man’s a user!”

“Yeah, now I know it. But back then I didn’t know that! I thought he was my Prince Charming.”

“Prince Charmings sometimes seem like frogs, love. Don’t you know that? The ones who seem perfect are always the most flawed,” he told her confidently, before adding more shyly, “…and vice versa.”

“I wish you’d been able to give me a little nugget of that fortune-cookie wisdom before Angel broke my heart.

“Yeah? Well, I wish I could rip out his bloody lungs and use them to wipe my ar…”

“O…kay! I got the picture,” Buffy interrupted, not wanting Spike to elaborate on his colorful threats. “However gross and disgusting the picture might be.”

“I’m a crude, rude man, love,” he said with a nonchalant shrug.

“Getting that. So, anyway. After I…was with Angel, he told me that it was over. He wanted to concentrate on his career and having a girlfriend would send it all screwy.” She stared down into her cup of ice cream, fighting back the prickle of tears as she recounted one of her most painful memories. “I didn’t want to admit that the truth was he just got what he wanted and then he was done with me. He used me, Spike. I felt like nothing…like dirt. You’ll be amazed to know that I retreated to the land of denial for a long time after that.”

“You know, the actual truth of the matter is that Angel O’Connor is a pansy-arsed git,” Spike told her, nodding when her head whipped up. “At least you’re not alone, pet. That nancy boy’s shagged a lot of poor girls who fell for his ‘charms’. He likes them young and vulnerable and he’s a bleeding master of manipulation.”

Buffy shook her head. “It doesn’t help though. I loved him and after that it was hard to let myself fall in love again. Then I met you and…” She halted suddenly, self-conscious about the fact that she was pouring her heart out. “And I think that’s enough talking about me,” she told him firmly.

“Yeah, I know about what happened with me and you, pet.” Guilt hung over Spike’s shoulders like a third presence.

“What about your exes?”

Spike chuckled, shaking off his darkening mood. “I assume you’re not referring to the birds I shagged onscreen.”

“A thousand gallons of no.” Buffy scowled. “Really don’t wanna hear about them.”

“Truth be told, I don’t want to think about them myself.” He tossed the empty cup of ice cream into the trash can on the other side of the room, winking at her when it slid in. “There was only one girl I ever really loved in my past.”

“Just the one?” Buffy lifted an eyebrow in disbelief.

“Yep. I was 18 years old and bloody na´ve as buggery. Her name was Drusilla. She was…my black goddess. Skin like the first snow of winter, lips like the deepest, juiciest cherries you ever saw and a mane of midnight colored locks.”

“Cheesy much?”

“Oi! It’s not cheesy. I wrote poetry for her, to tell her how I felt about her.”

“Whoa, back up there a second there, Walt Whitman. You write poetry?” Her mouth was gaping open with shock. Spike was a vulgar, bleached headed, leather clad punk who took his clothes off for money. Writing poetry was right up there with ballet dancing and piccolo playing on the list of things Buffy never thought she would associate with the Brit.

“I used to, love.” He grinned. “Why so surprised?”

“You’re demeanor doesn’t exactly scream poet.”

He shrugged. “Mass of contradictions, I am.” Buffy nodded, starting to see that Spike was a complex, multi-layered specimen of a man. “Pity that Dru didn’t appreciate the poetry though. Bint cheated on me with every Tom, Dick and Harry in London. In the end I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I headed over here, to find my fame and fortune in Hollywood. One thing led to another, and after that I ended up as the biggest star of modern pornography. Guess I’ve got Dru to thank for that.”

Spike paused for breath, feeling a little embarrassed that his whole life story had just come pouring out like water from a leaky faucet.

“She didn’t deserve you,” Buffy said, surprising herself with the sincerity of her words. For the first time she felt like she was really seeing the vulnerable but real man behind the ‘mask’ and she found she liked him a lot more than she would have expected. Internally she frowned at that thought.

Was Spike actually…likeable?

“Yeah, I guess not. The bitch always played me like a fiddle.” He paused and chewed on his lower lip. “You remember our first date?”

“A few years ago, you mean?”

Spike nodded. “Well a few weeks before I met you Dru came out here to see me. She was apparently between shag buddies at the time and fancied playing with my mind a little bit more. I was sick of it already by that time and I told her to get on a plane and go back to England. Anyway, right before the night of our date I got a phone call from Dru. She told me she was pregnant and she wanted me to come home and be a dad to her kid.”

“That was why you were so distracted,” said Buffy in dawning realization. “I always kinda thought it was me but…I guess it was your ex-ho that did it to you.”

“Yeah, nasty bint always had a penchant for messing with me. See Dru had another bombshell to drop on me. Even though she wanted me to play daddy…the kid wasn’t mine.”

“Oh my God!” exclaimed Buffy, licking her lips nervously.

“Yeah, bloody understatement there. Of course I told her to sod off, but it hurt. Story of my life.”

“Wait a second, if you sent her straight back to England, why did you ever think the baby could have been yours?”

Spike looked like a deer in the headlights at her perceptive question. “We might have…uh…shagged a bit first.”

Buffy wrinkled her nose in disgust, outwardly showing no other sign that it affected her. However, inside she felt seething jealousy. The thought of Spike allowing this woman to play him gnawed away at her gut.

She tried to tell herself it didn’t mean anything.

But Buffy was believing that assertion less and less every time she said it.

An air of heaviness settled over them and Buffy shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She didn’t like this newfound tension that had sprung up from discussions about their exes. It led to too many questions inside of her mind and, judging by the pained expression on his face, Spike felt the same.

“Do you ever wish you could turn back time?” she asked him. “Just get a do-over and un-fuck up all the fucked up stuff?”

Spike grinned at her flowery language. “Didn’t peg you for such a potty mouth,” he laughed, leaning his head back. His tongue curled behind his teeth as a very naughty thought embedded itself in his brain. “That the kind of language you use in the throes of passion?”

“You know you’re a total pig, right?”

“Don’t deny it turns you on, Summers. I bet I make you cream from it.”

“And we’re still in Piggy Town.”

Spike chuckled heartily, catching the twinkle in her eyes. So the little princess was enjoying his overt flirtations, was she? He couldn’t deny that made him feel all warm and cozy on the inside.

Buffy wanted a hole to open up and swallow her. Spike had been flirting with her…making sexual comments to her…and she’d liked it! Maybe she’d been dropped into Bizarre-o Land but she was finally gelling with Spike. And she was doing it while sober. Okay, subject change really required, stat!

“So,” Buffy tried cheerily. “Got any jobs lined up?”

Spike seemed a little puzzled by the sudden change in conversation, but he didn’t question it. In truth, he was disappointed to have his flirtations cut short, but he understood that it was best not to pressure Buffy when she was railing against something. That way only led to badness.

And badness wouldn’t lead her to him.

“Actually, I’ve been looking over a television script,” he nodded. “Bloody good too.”

“Really? What’s it about?”

“Vampires,” he told her, blushing a little.

Buffy chewed on her bottom lip thoughtfully. “Wait. Is it ‘Joan: Slayer of Vampires’? Or something like that?”

“Yeah, that’s the one!” chuckled Spike. “You’ve been reading it too?”

“I got a copy of the script for the pilot from Giles,” she admitted. “I think they want me to come in to read for the part of Joan, but I don’t know. I guess I don’t really see myself as a ‘Slayer of Vampires.’”

“I could see you as that, pet,” Spike smiled. “Probably all in leather, heels, hair flying about like a water nymph.”

“Water nymph? Really? I’m hoping you do not get the job of wardrobe designer for that show.”

“No worries on that score. They want me in for the male lead.” He met her eyes with his. “That would mean we’d see a lot more of each other.”

Buffy blushed and looked away. Her heart was pounding faster in her chest in the way that only Spike seemed to be able to provoke.

Buffy cleared her throat. “Giles told me that Dawn Keyes was offered a part on the show too,” she said, hoping to distract him from the way he was staring hungrily at her lips.

“Hmm?” he said, snapping back to reality. “Dawn Keyes?”

“She worked with us on Murder Most Strange. I’m surprised you don’t remember. You were flirting enough for a whole entire army.”

Spike chuckled. “Jealous pet?”

“As if!” she scoffed, hoping he hadn’t noticed the blush that pinkened her cheeks.

“Keep telling yourself that.” Spike leaned back in his seat, stretching like a big cat. “When you finally admit it to yourself that you want me, well it might be the day I go bloody ice skating in hell but it’ll be a joyous one.”

Buffy tried to avert her eyes and concentrate on the remnants of her ice cream but that was such a yummy position for him to be in. His lithe muscles were rippling relentlessly under his tight black T-shirt and she suddenly wondered what it would be like to eat her ice cream off of that toned, hard chest.

Immediately she gave herself a mental shake.

Bad bad Buffy!

“See something you like?” Spike probed. Had his voice dropped an octave? It sounded…huskier. As if he’d just had a heavy night of screaming out his pleasure. And there were the bad thoughts again.

“Uh…we should go!” Buffy said, surging to her feet before he could reply. Her panties were already moist and creamy so she couldn’t spend another moment looking at him without possibly climaxing right there in the ice cream parlor.

“You want to go?” he frowned. “Feeling a little tired are you, pet? Need me to put you to…bed?”

“I…umm…I got a headache,” she hedged, refusing to look at him.

“Massage can be a good cure for that,” he murmured suggestively, standing so close to her that he inflamed her cravings even more.

“Spike…” she began.

However, her sentence was cut short when a pair of teenage boys came barreling past the two blondes, almost knocking them to the ground. Spike’s arms automatically banded around Buffy to steady her. She graced him with a grateful smile but wriggled free before they could recapture the lost moment.

The blonde had a feeling that he was about to kiss her before the distraction and although there was a part of her that wanted to taste his lips again she wasn’t sure her psyche could handle it.

“Let’s go,” she said, turning and heading for the door.

As always he could do nothing but follow in her wake.
Chapter 19 by Starlight_Slayer
The pair of blonds exited the ice cream parlor in pensive silence. Today had been very strange but it had actually turned out to be fun. Even the deep and meaningful conversations that they shared actually seemed cathartic, more than painful. She couldn’t imagine that happening with anyone else.

Of course, when something was going right, something else had to come along and spoil everything.

The ‘spoiler’ came in the shape of an overweight, balding middle aged paparazzo, lurking behind a tree on the sidewalk outside ‘Gianni’s Gelato.’ As the pair of blonds made their way out of the store, they were suddenly blinded by the relentless flashing of a camera bulb. Instinctively Buffy put her hands over to face to shield herself.

However, Spike’s instinctive reaction was a little more…animalistic.

Seeing the intruder on his utopian day, he let out a terrifying roar, marching forward and grabbing the offender. The peroxide blond slammed the other man up against the tree, hearing a satisfying crack as his head hit the wood. He snatched the camera from the man with a sneer.

“Spike!” Buffy called, worried. She wasn’t sure what worried her more: Spike losing control and killing the guy and ending up in prison; or the guy actually ending up dead.

“I’ve got this under control pet,” he hissed at her, keeping his eyes focused on the dazed man in front of him. “Just trust me.”

Buffy’s breath hitched in her chest. Trust him? Could she actually accomplish that? She glanced at his angry yet earnest face and nodded, letting the tension drain out of her. She could put her trust in Spike on this one thing. Trust that he wouldn’t actually hurt the guy. Trust that he could handle it.

Even if she couldn’t trust him with her heart, she could try to trust him on this.

Spike graced her with a small grateful smile before turning back and glaring at the photographer. He gripped the terrified man’s camera more tightly in his right hand. His left hand was fixed firmly around the other man’s throat.

“Listen up, Picture Boy,” Spike growled tersely. “You’re going to head back to LA or whatever other rock you might have crawled out from under. When you get there, you won’t say anything about seeing Miss Summers here, will you?”

The petrified man shook his head wildly, eyes darting to Buffy’s intentionally impassive face as she watched the scene.

She looked detached, as if she wasn’t really there seeing Spike beat up some not-so-poor, not-so-innocent reporter. Actually she wouldn’t have minded a turn with him either. The kind of turn where he ended up getting his grape nuts squished.

“Please,” the paparazzo pleaded. “I won’t use the pictures. Just don’t hurt me.”

A nasty smile spread over Spike’s face. He might have been trying to change to be a better man for Buffy, but he still had an innate streak of sadism that ran deeply through his blood.

“I won’t hurt you, mate.” Throwing the camera to the ground, the blond brought his dirty boot down heavily onto the contraption, shattering it into pieces. “Can’t say the same for the camera though.”

He threw the older man away from him like he was tossing away garbage and wiped his hands on his pants. The balding man was staring at his broken camera with abject horror but Spike couldn’t care less, because he could see Buffy trying to hide her smile behind her hand and if she wasn’t upset with him then it was all okay.

“I don’t think he’ll be following me again,” Buffy laughed as the paparazzo scooped up what was left of his camera before scampering away as quickly as his little legs could carry him.

“Don’t think he’ll be following anyone again,” Spike agreed with a firm nod. He whipped out a cigarette and took a deep drag. “Bloody pansy hasn’t got the guts for a job like this anyway.”

Buffy giggled. “I don’t think he expected you to go all Genghis Khan on his ass though.”

“Probably not. But it made him shit his pants. So I repeat…not got the bloody guts.”

“I guess not.”

“You guess right.”

“Spike,” Buffy said slowly. “Thank you. Thanks for standing up to that guy for me I mean.” She paused recalling how mad she’d been at him the last time he’d defended her honor. But she’d changed since then with Tara’s help. “Not that I couldn’t have kicked his ass myself but I don’t want you to think I don’t appreciate it. I know I haven’t always been appreciative of your help in the past and I don’t want you to think I’m still all unappreciate-y Buffy, because I’m not and…”

“Buffy!” Spike interrupted her, holding up a hand. “You’re rambling, love.”

“Right. Sometimes I kinda play out the whole ramble-y girl thing,” she said apologetically. “Sorry.”

“It’s alright love. I find it endearing when you ramble.”

Buffy smiled but it quickly morphed into a yawn as toll of the past few weeks finally began to catch up with her.

“I should probably be getting back. I mean I had a really great time and everything with you but I don’t wanna get back too late. Mom’s been having a few headaches the past couple days and she thinks I don’t know about it ‘cause I’m all self-pity-y and self-absorb-y but sometimes I worry about her. She’s my mom, you know. She’s all I’ve really got.”

“It’s probably the stress of having such a demanding daughter puts that strain on her,” he joked with a smile. “She’s a nice lady, your Mum. Treated me right proper, she did. Most people just see me as a tender piece of meat to sink their teeth into but she cared for me like my own Mum used to.”

“Can I just say ‘eww’ for the image of Mom sinking her teeth into any part of you,” Buffy giggled.

“My parts are reserved for you,” Spike assured her. However, the offhanded quip immediately made Buffy tense up again. She could be oh so comfortable with him but as soon as he reminded her of the way he felt, it made everything complicated again.

He took a deep breath, trying to ignore the awkwardness that was springing up all around them once again. “Come on then love, we best get you back.” Offering his arm hopefully to the lady, Spike inhaled a deep breath, his stomach roiling as she hesitated before taking it.

“Walk you home, love?” he asked shyly.

“Why kind Sir!” Buffy laughed, affecting a Southern Belle accent. “That would be just wonderful.”

And just like that…the tension dissipated.

The walk back to Revello was made in companionable silence. Neither wanted to break the quiet and possibly ruin the mood. Not to mention they were both lost in their own deep thoughts about the implications of the day they’d spent together.

Buffy was, for the most part, confused about how she felt about it. Her emotions were going through a meat grinder right now.

She’d started the day believing that Spike was attached to an actress that she didn’t care for. Then she’d found him chatting with her mother as if they were old friends reunited after decades. And he’d ended the day by defending her honor…again. Not that she needed him to defend her. She could easily have kicked Short N’ Bald in the nuts if she’d wanted.

But it was the sentiment behind his actions that really rang a bell with her. She couldn’t imagine any other guy jumping to her defense so easily, except for maybe Giles…but the older Brit didn’t count.

Spike glanced at Buffy, wondering what was passing through her brain. If only he knew! She was as preoccupied with thoughts about him as he was with thoughts about her.

His mind raced with thoughts about the objects of his affection and fond memories of today. He could easily admit that it was the best day of his life. Spending time with a woman who he’d come to care so deeply for was the closest a man like him would probably ever get to heaven.

The problem was that he didn’t want it to end. He didn’t want this to be all they ever had. Together they could experience so much more, as a team, a partnership. As a couple.

And that was the part that scared him so thoroughly because he had no idea if Buffy would ever let him love her that way.

However, he knew that he had to find out for sure. Spike Pryce wasn’t a patient man, and he couldn’t wait and see how things developed between them. He was compelled to admit his own feelings for her.

As soon as they arrived outside her mother’s house, he realized that it was now or never. They headed up onto the porch and he leaned against the railings, summoning his courage.

This was the time when he found out if he’d struck gold or if it was all about to turn to shit.

“Buffy, love,” he began nervously, avoiding her eyes, “I…I’m not really sure how to say this to you.”

A worried frown formed on her brow and she cocked her head. “What’s wrong?”

“Wrong? Nothing’s wrong, pet. I just…I have something I want to talk to you about and I don’t want you to go off your bloody rocker when I tell you.”

Buffy licked her lips and signaled with her hand for him to continue. She could see beads of sweat breaking out on his face and wrinkled her nose in confusion. What could he possibly have to tell her that would make him so seemingly…anxious?

“Right!” He exhaled sharply and fiddled with the cigarette he pulled out from behind his ear. “Today has been good hasn’t it?”

“Yeah, I’ve had fun,” she agreed honestly. “Apart from the crazy paparazzo guy. But…thanks for not killing him or something.”

“I told you, I’ve changed, love. I’m not the arsehole I used to be. And I had fun too by the way.” He smiled a genuine smile at her. “I’d like to have more fun like this in the future. Actually I’d like to have it every bloody day if I’m honest with you, Kitten. Today opened my eyes to something that I already know but didn’t want to focus on. The fact is that I can’t live without you.”

“Huh?” Buffy’s jaw hung slackly in her face as she tried to digest his admission.

Seemingly oblivious to her shock and discomfort, Spike continued. “I’m painfully in love with you, Summers. You’re a ruddy pain in the arse most of the time, annoying, contrary, snobbish, but I can’t help wanting you. Can’t help needing you. I’m drowning in you, Buffy, and I don’t want to be saved. I want to spend the rest of my life making you happy.”

“You don’t love me, Spike,” she denied, her brain suddenly snapping out of its shock and kicking back into action. “I don’t know why you keep on thinking that you’re in love with me but obviously that’s totally nutballs. Have you completely lost your mind?”

“I have every part of my mind fully intact.”

“That’s exactly what a crazy person would say,” she countered, pointing accusingly at him with her hand. “Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy. And if you don’t see how…insane it is to fall in love with me in one day then…you shouldn’t just fly over the cuckoo’s nest, you should be burrowed deep inside of it.”

“I didn’t fall in love with you today!” he yelled, drawing the attention of an older couple passing by.

“Exactly! You didn’t.”

“No, I didn’t. I’ve told you before how I feel about you. You already knew how I felt but you pretend it doesn’t exist and you deny it to yourself! You want to know when I bloody well knew I loved you? I fell in love with you the very first time I met you. I guess maybe I didn’t know it right away, not until I lost you. But I felt it more deeply than anything. And I’ve carried on loving you every buggering day since.”

“I don’t understand.” Buffy stared at him blankly, uncomprehending of what he was trying to tell her. “You’re talking about six years ago? I mean you treated me like total crap back then. You lied to me about who you were and then all of that stuff you said to Glory…”

“I’m sorry,” he told her honestly. “What I said…I was wrong. I was a complete and utter git to go on television and say that stuff to that bloody skank. When you told me you didn’t want to be with me and you wouldn’t even sleep with me, I felt rejected and hurt so I bloody lashed out in the only way I knew how.”

He wasn’t sure how much of his apology she was even absorbing. The girl looked ready to hit the ground, in all honesty. All he could hope was that she would accept his confession and be able to forgive him.

Seeing that she wasn’t going to respond, Spike cleared his throat. “I need you to try and put that load of bollocks in the past. I’m not the same git that broke your heart like that. I wouldn’t do that now. I’d protect it, love. Six years and you’re all I’ve thought about, dreamt about. You’re in my throat, in my gut. I’m lost without you, love.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Buffy said, her breath trickling from her body in a steady stream, like a balloon deflating. “What do you want from me?”

“I don’t want anything from you! I just need you to understand…”

“Understand what?! What are you saying?”

“I’m telling you that this…what I feel for you spurred me on to be…everything I could be.” His brow rose ironically at the words. He paused and sucked in a deep breath, garnering his courage. “After what happened all those years ago I realized something. I’d never felt that way about anyone and I couldn’t just let you go. But I knew you wouldn’t want me the way I was. You wouldn’t accept a porn star.”

“Or a liar,” she added, sotto voce.

“Or a liar,” he agreed.

“Or a creep who goes on national TV and says mean things about me.”

“Or that,” Spike hissed from between clenched teeth. He’d forgotten just how frustrating his girl could be at times. “So I realized I had to change. I saved up as much money as I could from the business. And then I got out and went straight. And then…I wanted to get close to you. I needed to show you that I’d changed. Bollocksed that one up didn’t I? Acting like a first class arse is apparently still my bloody forte.”

Buffy’s eyes widened. “Oh my God! You took that job on ‘Murder Most Strange’ because you knew that I was working on that episode.”

“Yeah,” he admitted with a shy nod. “That’s exactly why I took it. I needed to show you that I’m not the same man I was back then.”

“So you decided to show me you’re a stalker instead?”

“No!” He shook his head vehemently in denial, hurt creeping into his eyes when she backed away from him slightly.

He wondered just how everything had turned from gold to lead in a matter of moments. Buffy had known that he loved her and yet she was acting like it was a new revelation. For the first time he wondered just what it would take to chip away her denial forever,

“Yes, Spike! That’s exactly what you’re doing. Taking a job just to see me, punching my ex boyfriend to ‘defend my honor’, following me here. You define the word ‘stalking’ with your insane-o behavior.”

Ironically the move he made next could only be called ‘stalking’. Not the scary, lurking in the bushes kind, but the sort of movement a predator might make. He approached her as if she was a mouse and he was the cat. His muscles looked coiled and ready to pounce at any moment.

Buffy inhaled sharply at his movement, wincing when his strong hands roughly grabbed her upper arms, dragging her closer. So close, she could feel his hot, smoky breath on her neck. His rich, earth scent was filling her senses and she couldn’t breathe. He was choking her, suffocating her, and despite all logical and rationale, she didn’t want it to stop.

“I did it because I had to.” His voice was deep and scratchy, like car tires running over gravel. “I’d never hurt you, Buffy. I’m in love with you. God, I’m a git. Always a bloody fool for love but I can’t stop.”

“Try!” she urged him, her body feeling limp as he kept a hold of her.

“I can’t. All I think about is holding you. All I dream about is tasting you. That night we spent together was the best night of my bloody pathetic life, even if you did skitter away the next morning before I even cracked an eye.”

“Stop!”

“No, there’s something else you should know.” He lowered his eyes, not wanting to see her disappointment. He needed to tell her the truth right now even if she never talked to him again. “I set up the stunt with Cordelia…because I wanted you to find out and get bitten by the jealousy bug. I thought it would make you want me.”

Buffy’s jaw almost hit the ground at his revelation. “You’re sick! You thought if…oh my God. To think I actually thought today was a genuine attempt at being friends and all along you were playing me. I hate you!”

“I’m telling you because I’m trying to be bloody honest with you, Summers. Can’t you appreciate that?”

“It’s not okay to just lie and do bad stuff and then admit it and apologize. That doesn’t wipe away the bad, Spike.”

“I know. But you need to understand why I did it. I did it for you, for us. I want you, love and I…need you.”

His hands came up on either side of her trapping her against the wall of her house. She didn’t know what to do, how to react, what to think. Her mind was whirling with conflicting emotions as he stared intensely into her eyes, almost hypnotizing her with his gaze.

As he continued to stare at her something inside of her was building. Something that was hot and desperate to break through. She felt like a volcano, bubbling and burning, overflowing with the lava of her feelings and there was no way to push them back.

“What do you want from me?” she asked, panting and breathless.

He didn’t give her an answer because he couldn’t tell her in words. There were no more words to cover what he wanted or what he needed from her.

Instead he lowered his lips to hers and kissed her, softly and reverently, as if she was something precious. He tried to pour all his feelings for her into that kiss, to tell her everything he wanted to say through his body. At first she tried to resist, but Spike was like quicksand, dragging her down into his mire until there was no way she could escape.

His hands wound into her golden locks and she moaned into his mouth. However, it was that moan that tugged her out of her trance and brought her crashing back to reality.

What the hell was she doing?

She was kissing Spike Pryce and this time she didn’t have the excuse of being drunk, unless being drunk on his kisses counted as an excuse.

No matter how many pretty words he said to her, it didn’t change the way she felt about him. He’d only proved that he took one step forward and two steps back every time he supposedly tried to change his ways and it was hellish to recognize that he would probably never be the man she wanted him to be.

So what if she was attracted to him? By now she’d accepted that was pretty much a given. But she couldn’t let herself love him. He was darkness and she was light. That much she knew. And darkness comes along to eclipse the light.

That was the way she felt around him. Like she was dying, being born into someone else, someone she didn’t recognize.

It had to end.

Wrenching herself away from him, she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, ignoring the hurt that flashed in his eyes when he saw her actions.

“So that’s it then, is it?” He looked like he was going to either cry or kick something.

“Spike, don’t you see that this is wrong?”

“Being in deep, painful, all-consuming love with you is wrong?”

“Yes!” she answered, becoming increasingly flustered. And then she finally admitted her deepest fear. “You shouldn’t love me. I’m not worth…I’m not worth your love.”

The stoic expression on his face crumbled at her words into overt shock and finally anger. “Don’t say that. Don’t you dare say that, love! You’re worth more than you could ever know. How can you doubt yourself like this?”

“You see this perfect version of me but that girl isn’t real, Spike. I’m not who you think I am.”

“I know exactly who you are, pet. I know who you are on the inside. You think I don’t realize you have faults? That’s a load of bloody bollocks. I see your faults and I accept them as being part of you. I love all of you, Buffy Summers. The good, the bad and the ugly. I’m far from perfect but we can be imperfect together.”

“Two imperfections? That would never work. The sides need to be straight to fit together.”

“Not in my world, Goldilocks,” he smirked. “And you think I can’t wait? I can bloody wait for you, love. You’re well worth it.”

“We’re not in your world now. Spike, I can’t promise you that there’ll ever be a chance for us.”

“I’ll wait for as long as it takes, love,” he called over his shoulder as he spun around and strode away from her. “But don’t mistake that I will be waiting pet. And one day you’ll see the truth.”

Inside of her chest her heart was cracking, shattering into tiny shards of lost love and abandoned hope. She wasn’t sure she would be whole again.

It hurt him just as badly to turn and walk away. But he couldn’t force her to be ready for him, or to want him at all. However, patience wasn’t Spike’s forte and his wasn’t sure just how true his promise would turn out to be. He could wait, but not for long. He knew himself well enough to know that.

It was scant consolation when the faint sounds of her sobs reached his ears from behind him, salty tears dried by the breeze. He was pleased to know she was suffering as deeply as he was, but when all was said and done, it didn’t ease the burn.

Buffy watched him walk away toward his car with trepidation filling the empty cavity of her chest. The whole day had felt surreal, like something out of a dream.

Even though the passion crackled between them, being around Spike had been weirdly comfortable. She didn’t have to worry about trying to live up to impossible standards, and she could just be Buffy. He didn’t judge her even when she poured out her heart to him. Wracking her brains, she tried to recall the last time she felt that way, but came up blank.

Unfortunately, Buffy knew that true happiness was short lived. The pinnacle of elation always preceded the depths of the worst kinds of depression. Experience had taught her to run away from happiness before it did a one-eighty and bit her in her ass.

That was why she wasn’t sure she would ever be ready. It was why he had to leave. But watching him walk away from her was like having her heart ripped out again.

Her mind flickered back to when her first love, Angel O’ Connor, had dumped her the morning after they slept together. He’d told her that it wouldn’t be good for his career as a movie star to be tied down to anyone, even someone as famous as Buffy was. And then to Riley Finn and the way he’d stomped on her feelings to save his own ego from humiliation.

Those memories made her realize she was doing the right thing. Love wasn’t worth the pain. Throwing everything into the ring simply meant that you risked losing everything, and Buffy wasn’t prepared to jeopardize anything if it meant she couldn’t be hurt again.

Heading back into the house, she felt the beginnings of a headache forming in her temples. She needed to lie down…maybe indefinitely. She needed to clear her head of every thought and allow her tense mind and body to relax.

However, as her eyes settled on the scene in front of her, she was barely even aware of the bloodcurdling scream that flew from her lips like the wail of a siren.

“No! Please God no!”

Lost in the daze of sorrowful shock, Buffy sank to her knees.
Chapter 20 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
I know this story has been very angsty in the past few chapters and there is still a little more angst to come, but please stick with it and have faith that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. :)
Spike wasn’t sure how long he’d been sitting in his car. It could have been seconds or hours or even days but he kept the engine off and his hands braced on the wheel. The thought of driving away and leaving Buffy, even after everything, was the most horrible torture but he knew that he had to give her the space she deserved.

Fishing his keys out of his pocket, fingered them vacantly in his trembling hands. He constantly reminded himself that he was doing the right thing in leaving her. As his fingers clenched around the key to start the engine, suddenly his ears were filled with pained shrieking.

“No!” he heard. “Please God no!”

Of course, he recognized that voice.

Buffy.

And something was wrong with her.

Leaping from the car without conscious thought, not even bothering to slam the door, he raced up the driveway to her mother’s small house. Even from a distance he could see that the front door was still open and his heart felt like a leaden rock in his chest. That scream had torn at him like a dagger, and he couldn’t help but think the worst. He jogged through the open doorway, coming to a halt as his eyes landed on the horrible scene before him.

Joyce Summers, the lovely lady who only that very morning had given him cocoa and chatted with him like he was an actual human being was lying sprawled in the floor, blood pooling around her head. Her right arm was bent at an unnatural angle and her complexion was deathly pale.

Her daughter was crouched beside her, floods of tears cascading from her eyes. She was tightly clasping her mother’s hand as she continued to kneel next to her, muttering incoherent nonsense.

“Buffy, love?” asked Spike, his face a picture of concern.

The young blonde blinked at the sound of his voice, before turning her head to him. For several seconds she stared unfocusedly at him, as if she was trying to remember who he was.

“Spike?” she croaked hoarsely. “I-I think something’s w-wrong with Mom.”

Slowly he approached the prone, bleeding woman and her crying child, kneeling down next to them. With extreme gentleness he placed his hand on Joyce’s wrist, his fingers searching for a pulse. For several moments he couldn’t locate anything but suddenly the barest of flutterings beat against his fingers.

“She’s got a pulse, pet,” he assured the distraught young woman next to him. “She’s alive but only just. We need to call an ambulance right now.”

Sluggishly Buffy turned to look at him, her head tilted as if she was trying to absorb exactly what was happening. As the realization struck him that Buffy was in shock, he frantically he dug through his pockets for his cell phone. His fingers danced over the keypad, dialing the number that he hoped would yank Joyce from the jaws of death.

“911, what’s your emergency?” The sterile voice on the other end of the line inquired politely.

“Er, I found a…friend on the floor and she’s bleeding, don’t know what’s wrong with her, but we need an ambulance here fast.”

“Is she conscious?” asked the operator.

“No, she was unconscious when we found her.”

“Is she breathing?”

“Yeah just about but her breath’s not strong. And her pulse feels like it’s fading too.”

Another wail pealed from Buffy’s lips as his words registered with her. Spike couldn’t concentrate on placating Buffy right now though. He had to prioritize and getting the paramedics to help Joyce was his first priority.

“Can you tell me what happened to her, Sir?” the voice on the other end of the line asked, pulling him out of his Buffy-centric thoughts.

“Don’t know. We just came home and found her on the ground and it looks like she hit her head on the floor. It’s a hard floor and she’s hurt. Please get someone over here right bloody now.”

“We’re sending someone now, Sir. Please remain calm and inform me if there’s any change.”

Any change? Spike almost scoffed. What kind of change did they expect? Did they think Joyce would suddenly leap off the ground and start tap-dancing her way through a re-creation of Singing in the Rain?

Trying to clear his mind and concentrate on the situation at hand, he sank back down to his knees next to Buffy and laid a hand on her shoulder.

“Paramedics are on their way, pet,” he told her gently, not wanting to startle her. She was in a near state of catatonic shock and it seemed like she might be on the verge of a total mental break. “We’re getting help for your Mum, okay?”

Buffy didn’t respond but just continued staring blankly down at her injured mother. He wasn’t sure what to do for her. In the movies, slapping someone usually achieved the desired effect but he couldn’t bring himself to hurt the little blonde right now, even if it was for her own good.

Well at least they’d be at the hospital soon. He just hoped that Buffy wouldn’t find herself having a little stint on the psych ward once they arrived there.

It seemed like forever before the paramedics finally showed up, and when they did arrive a nightmarish haze had already descended over both the blonds. Buffy was still unresponsive and Spike was starting to go into shock himself. Periodically he checked Joyce’s pulse and breathing but apart from that he remained still. For Spike, his inertia was more than a miracle as he was usually compelled into hyperactivity.

When the two young paramedics started working on Joyce, checking her vitals and attaching some futuristic looking equipment to her, he was forced to physically drag Buffy away to give them room to work.

She resisted and twisted in his arms but he kept an iron hold on her. Unusually having her in his arms didn’t provoke his arousal for once and he was infinitely glad about that. Now was not the time.

“We have a heartbeat and stable breathing so we’re going to take her in. Will you be riding in the ambulance with us?” asked one of the paramedics. He was a short, dumpy man with a round smiling face that put Spike more at ease. “One of you can come with.”

Glancing at the girl in his arms Spike shook his head. “No, we’ll follow in my car. Girl’s not up to it right now and if she goes with you in the van then you’ll have more than one patient to contend with.”

The other paramedic, a skinny redheaded man, nodded grimly. “She’s in shock. She might need looking at once she gets to the hospital.” He paused for a moment before shyly adding, “She is Buffy Summers right? I mean I know this is a horrible time to meet her but she’s my favorite actress. Do you think I could maybe get an autograph?”

Spike just stared at the other man in horror. Did he really think that Buffy wanted to discuss the nuances of her fame right now? Even if she wasn’t half zombified it was unlikely that she’d be willing to coo and gush and sign autographs for her fans while her mother was lurking at death’s door.

“Just get her mum to the bloody hospital you git!” Spike snapped, anger seeping from his pores.

Both the men jumped in fright as his voice bellowed at them. Even Buffy startled slightly before settling back into her catatonia. Eventually Spike would start worrying if she didn’t come out of shock, but for now a placid Buffy was better than a hysterical one.

While Joyce was loaded into the ambulance, Spike ushered Buffy into his old beat-up Desoto. He was fairly sure that if she was lucid right now she would have wrinkled her nose at his old car. However, she just sat still and staring straight ahead at the windshield as if it was a masterpiece of modern art.

It was only once they pulled into the hospital parking lot and the imposing figure of Sunnydale General loomed over them that the blonde actress finally started to emerge from her trance.

“We’re here,” he told her, pulling into a parking space and turning to face her. “Buffy, we’re at the bloody hospital so get that cute little head back down to earth and out of wherever it’s wandered off to.”

As Spike shut of the engine, he saw it happen in apparent slow motion, like watching someone wade through water.

Firstly her little brow furrowed in confusion as she tried to remember what had happened. Then as soon as the image of her mother lying on the ground came back to her so did the grief and pain. They flooded her, overwhelming her like a great and heavy burden. She couldn’t stay upright with this weight on her and then she buckled, her forehead hitting her knees.

Anger and sorrow warred within her, reddening her cheeks and bringing forth a gush of her tears. There were the hurricanes of tears, as crying went. Huge sobs scorching her heart as they broke free from her damaged psyche.

“Come on now, pet,” Spike said uncomfortably. “You’re the strong one here. Don’t let me down, lovely.”

But she couldn’t stop crying. It was as if she would cry enough tears to flood the world. Well Spike wouldn’t be getting on the Ark. He would stay right at Buffy’s side through any natural disaster, demon disaster or trickery of the damn Powers That Be…even if he drowned because of it.

In the past Spike had seen many sides of Buffy but he’d never seen her looking so raw and vulnerable. Despite her diminutive size, she always seemed larger than life, feisty and full of fire. But now she seemed lost and broken and all he wanted was to take her in his arms and never let her go.

“We need to go inside,” he told her, keeping his voice as tender as he could muster. He was still working through his own shock at finding Joyce on the ground like that but he wouldn’t allow his own pain to show when he needed to remain strong.

“I-inside?” she stammered as if he was telling her that she needed to walk the green mile.

“We need to find out how your mum is, Summers. I know this is bloody hard for you but you can do this.”

Shaky hands reached up and wiped away her tears and she nodded. “You’re right. We n-need to…uh…we need to see Mom.”

Keeping her arms firmly wrapped around herself, she climbed out of the car. Her unfocused eyes remained downcast as she followed Spike into the sterile hospital. It was so…cold in there. She hated hospitals and being here now when her mother’s life was hanging in the balance was nothing short of torture.

For once she was glad that Spike was with her, that she didn’t have to face this alone. All her life she’d felt alone, but having a shoulder to lean on wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was liberating.

Just as they walked into the ER, they saw the two paramedics rushing Joyce through the large room. A doctor sprinted to her side, yelling some instructions to one of the nurses. It seemed so frantic that Buffy couldn’t really absorb the scene yet. Joyce was covered with a mask and there were wires over her chest. The image stabbed at Buffy and she felt the hysteria smack into her again, almost flooring her. Immediately she was filled with the urge to rush to her mother, needing to see her, to help her.

“Don’t let her die!” Buffy shrieked, barely holding herself back from running after her mother. Her hands clapped over her mouth as she repeated her prayer over and over.

“They’re gonna help her, pet,” Spike said, ready to hold her back if she decided to rush after her mother. Right now the doctors needed to concentrate on the sick woman and they didn’t need a hysterical Buffy interfering with them. She would have the time to be with her mother later, when she was better.

Or at least he hoped so.

“God, she can’t die. Please Mommy, I need you,” Buffy cried, swaying wildly on her feet. “Why? Why did this happen? Oh God, Mommy!”

“We need to let the docs do their jobs. They know what they’re doing and they’ll take care of her. They better bloody well had.”

As they watched Joyce disappear through the doors with the doctors, Buffy’s sobbing returned full force. She was heaving with the horrible pain that seared through her. Powerless to do anything, Spike felt like he was being torn in two. He had nothing to offer but his own comfort and he didn’t know if Buffy would accept that from him.

However, he was shocked when she turned toward him and buried her face in his chest, clinging to him like he was the only life raft that was stopping her from drowning in her misery.

Without any thought his arms came up around her and as they sank to the floor together, he wrapped his slim body around her tinier one, holding her, comforting her, protecting her.

He wouldn’t leave her now. Not even if she wanted him to.
Chapter 21 by Starlight_Slayer
Author's Notes:
I'm sorry it's been so long since my last update but hopefully I can post regularly again now. This chapyer contains sexual situations.
Time always seems to pass so sluggishly when you’re waiting for something. It’s as if the world starts to rotate more slowly on its axis and every second drags itself out into an eternity.

As Buffy and Spike sat silently wrapped in each other’s arms in the waiting room, time appeared to have slowed down almost to a stop. The pair remained perched on a knife’s edge, waiting for news…good or bad.

There’d been no word from the doctors on Joyce’s condition so far and with every moment that passed, another glimmer of hope seemed to flee Buffy’s heart. She felt desolate and lost. Her only anchor was the man she’d pushed away so many times. But now she couldn’t do anything but cling to him.

Spike was determined not to leave Buffy’s side. Only momentarily had he moved from her to call her manager and let him know what had happened. He hoped that Giles would help the blonde but deep down he knew that the only cure for her pain lay in Joyce’s recovery. He didn’t even want to consider any alternatives.

The blond didn’t tell the distraught girl how he’d suffered an unrelenting inquisition from his British counterpart as to why he was there with Buffy. Unfortunately, he feared that his lackluster excuses might not have cut it with the sharp-witted older man. Rupert Giles was extraordinarily astute and Spike didn’t miss the suspicious tone of Giles’ voice when Spike informed him of his presence in the small town.

It didn’t matter to Spike though. The manager could come at him with an angry mob wielding burning torches and he wouldn’t back away from the woman he loved. Buffy needed him and he would stay with her no matter what. Maybe he was kidding himself or overestimating just how much she wanted him there but he didn’t care.

When she clung to him like a lost child he’d seen through the armor she clad herself in. He’d seen the real girl behind the mask and that girl just wanted to be held. Right now she wanted…and needed…him.

When a doctor finally headed toward them, both the blonds immediately leaped to their feet. Spike glanced at Buffy and saw the devastated yet hopeful expression on her tearstained face.

“You’re Mrs. Summers’ daughter?” the older, brown haired man asked as he paused in front of the worried pair.

“Yeah,” Buffy nodded, her voice strained and hoarse. “How is she?” Her hands ran absently up and down her arms, vainly attempting to warm her chilled skin. She couldn’t eradicate the chill though because it was coming from the inside.

“I’m afraid the diagnosis isn’t good,” he said grimly. “Your mother collapsed and hit her head, which caused the bleeding. We have managed to stop the bleed but there was a deeper cause for the accident.”

“Don’t beat around the soddin’ bush, mate,” Spike said shortly, unsuccessfully trying to conceal his own unease. “Tell us what’s the matter.”

“We’ve conducted a brain scan to try to locate the root cause for her accident and we found a shadow on her brain. I’m afraid that it looks like your mother is suffering from a tumor.”

“A…uh…t-tumor? Like a brain tumor?” Buffy blinked rapidly, her face paling to the point where Spike feared she might pass out

“I’m afraid so,” nodded the doctor. “We believe it caused her to experience a blackout and that’s why she collapsed. Unfortunately, as you know, she hit her head when she fell and suffered some blood loss, but we’ve been able to suture the wound and it won’t be a problem.”

“Okay,” sighed Buffy. “But a tumor? That’s like…cancer, right?”

The doctor shook his head vehemently. “No, not necessarily. We have every hope that it’s benign and that we’ll be able to remove it.”

“If it’s not cancer then why do you need to remove it?” she asked shrilly, approaching the point of hysteria. “I mean, it’s fine, right? Real peachy ‘cause it’s all benign.”

The doctor’s expression didn’t change but Spike noticed a flash of sympathy behind the other man’s eyes. “No, even a benign tumor can put pressure on the brain. If we were to leave it, then I have no doubt your mother would suffer further blackouts and possibly seizures. We can remove it with a simple operation though, so you shouldn’t worry.”

“Simple?” Buffy scoffed through her tears. “Cracking open my mother’s skull and tearing out a chunk of her brain is simple to you?”

“Come on now, Summers,” Spike said gently, stepping forward and laying a hand on the small of her back. “The docs are doing their best. It’s not easy for them.”

The aggravated blonde shook off his touch and whirled on him. “And you think this is easy for me?”

“No, I don’t. There’s nothing as hard as this in the whole bloody world, pet. You only have one mum and you’re terrified of losing yours. I understand that but taking it out on the doctor that’s trying to soddin’ well help her won’t get us anywhere.” His face softened and his eyes turned pleading. “Just let them do their jobs, Buffy.”

Spike turned to the doctor, his eyes apologetic. “She’s in a bit of a state,” he said, ignoring the furious girl at his side. “Could you give us some time?”

The doctor nodded. “We’re taking her up to the OR as soon as possible so we’ll hopefully have some news for you soon.”

“Can’t I see her first?” Buffy asked through clenched teeth and cascading tears.

“I’m afraid that won’t be possible. We’re moving her now but you can see her after.” With a final cautious smile he left them alone in the hallway, practically facing off against each other.

“I want her moved to a better hospital. Sunnydale General is not the best place for her,” Buffy insisted rounding on Spike as soon as the doctor was out of earshot.

“Seems to me they know what they’re doing, Kitten,” said Spike. “And the operation is urgent. If they faff about moving her somewhere else then it could waste vital time.”

The young woman seemed to deflate at his words, her shoulders slumping defeatedly. “I’m just…so scared, Spike.” Buffy shook her head and licked her parched lips. “If she dies…”

“Hey now! None of that.”

She turned her pale face to him and nodded. “I think I need some air or something. I’m gonna go outside and…” She didn’t finish her sentence. She couldn’t. Her mind was in pieces right now.

“Well I’ll come with you, pet. Could do with a fag after all this. Feeling nicotine deprived.” He grinned, trying to lighten the mood and she forced an attempt at a smile in response.

Together they headed out of the doors into the fresh evening air. The pair made their way around into one of the alleys behind the hospital where they were afforded a little more privacy.

Spike sparked up a cigarette savoring the taste in the back of his throat. It burned deliciously, distracting him from Buffy’s almost imperceptible trembling and the tangible silence. She stood ramrod straight against the dirty wall, not even looking at him. He wanted to talk but he couldn’t find anything to say.

What words would provide comfort in such dire times?

It was the sound of Buffy’s broken voice that finally shattered the silence.

“I feel like it’s my fault, this thing with my Mom,” she admitted to Spike, leaning her weary hair against the cool stone of the wall in back of her.

His eyes snapped to her, studying her profile in shadows. “What are you talking about? It’s not your bloody fault. Even if you’d been at home then…”

“No,” interrupted Buffy. “I don’t mean that…I don’t mean that I could have stopped her from falling or… When I was a kid, my mom was the one who wanted me to have a life in front of the cameras.” She paused for a moment but her confession forced itself from her lips. “She always wanted to be a dancer when she was a little girl but she never made it so I guess she was doing the living vicariously thing through her darling daughter. She took me to some auditions, thinking that maybe I’d have some kind of future in it and…well it got all spiral-y out of control from there.”

“Still not seeing how any of this is your fault, pet.” Spike scratched the back of his neck, wondering exactly where her story was leading.

“A-after I got real famous and life started to suck because of just how famous I was, I g-guess a part of me started to play the blame game with her. I never told her but I-I used to think it was all her fault. If she hadn’t pushed me into the industry I’d just be a normal girl having a normal life. It’s one of the reasons why I barely ever went home to visit. Because I blamed her, because I thought maybe if I had a different mother then I wouldn’t be stuck with this stupid life in the stupid limelight, being judged by every stupid person in the whole stupid world.”

Her sobs were coming thick and fast now, fat tears rolling down her reddened face. She tried to scrub the moisture away with trembling fists but even as she tried, the weeping only got harder.

With hesitant movements, Spike stepped forward, reaching for the blonde and pulling her into his arms. For several moments she resisted, beating her tiny fists furiously on his chest, but then she couldn’t resist the call of his comfort any longer and she melted into his strong arms. His upper body wrapped around her like a shield from the pain, momentary solace from the hurt.

“Shh, now,” he whispered, his breath hot against her ear. “It wasn’t your fault. Don’t blame yourself, Buffy. You shoulder the blame for too many bloody things already.”

“But I did it. I brought it on her!”

“You might have a lot of sway in this world, pet, but even you’re not so arrogant as to believe you control the forces of nature. This would have happened even if you were serving up fries at the bloody Doublemeat Palace.”

“I can’t do it, Spike. I just can’t. I don’t know if I can survive this.”

“You’re strong, you know. A real fighter. You can handle whatever there is to come.”

He didn’t tell her that everything would be alright, and she was glad of that. Because she didn’t want to hear him lie to her.

“I’m not a fighter,” she whispered, her whole body sagging hopelessly. “Everything’s too hard. I thought…thought I was dealing with it, thought I could do it, but I can’t. I’m breaking on the inside and if she dies…”

Her eyes glistened under the moonlight with a sheen of tears as she leveled her gaze to his. It was unusual for the young actress to display her weaknesses to someone so blatantly, especially someone she didn’t wholly trust, but she needed Spike’s support in this. He was the only thing holding her together at that moment and she feared that alone she would crumble.

“Hush now, kitten,” Spike said gently, as if he was consoling a child. “Now’s not the time for ‘what ifs?’ You need to distract yourself.”

Buffy buried her face deeper into the abyss of Spike’s hold. The man felt so solid against her in a way she’d never noticed before. He was the most real thing in the world at that very second and the warmth of his body pushed up against hers made it seem like nothing else existed.

“You’re right,” she whispered, acutely aware of the tantalizing feel of Spike’s muscles under her hands as she rested them on the toned plane of his chest. “I do need something else.”

She lifted her face to look at him, her tortured eyes imploring him to help her, to whisk her mind away from the cold harshness of reality to a place where she could forget her pain.

For several seconds Spike stared back and it didn’t take long before he saw that familiar spark in her eyes. So many women had flashed that look at him in the past…and now here he was with Buffy.

Sensing what she wanted, Spike blanched. It wasn’t that he had a problem with giving a woman a good seeing to when she wanted it but Buffy wasn’t in her right mind at this moment. She was broken over her mother’s sickness and he knew almost for sure that if he let her use his body as a mental tranquilizer then she would regret it.

“Now, pet I don’t think this is the best idea.”

However, Buffy wasn’t perturbed by his reaction. In fact she couldn’t even process it. The blonde was reduced to her primal state, operating only on instinct and her impulses were vying for Spike right now. “Please, make me forget, Spike. Help me to forget.” She tugged at his shirt, urging him to remove it.

On the street to the side of where they were standing, the cars rushed past, but it didn’t seem to faze her that they were in a semi-public place. She didn’t seem to care that he had her pushed up against a wall in a dirty alley where any stray paparazzo could wander past and take a career-ending snap. The only thought on her mind was losing herself in his body and letting him erase all of the badness from her head.

“I need you,” she demanded, even though her voice was coated with sorrow. “Just do it, you bastard.” Her open palm slapped the center of his chest with as much force as she could muster. There was no way she was going to be denied the one thing she needed right now.

He should have been strong and said no. He should have told her that it wouldn’t solve anything and guided her inside for a steaming cup of cocoa and mini marshmallows. But he was weak, and it wasn’t something that he would even try to deny.

Standing here in front of the woman he’d spent six years in love with while she begged him to make love to her…okay…to fuck her was just too much.

Without any further thought for the consequences of his actions, he tugged her flush against him, their bodies sensually squashed together, and pressed his lips against hers. Initially he tried for gentleness, wanting to give her what she wanted and needed but Buffy wasn’t craving gentleness right now.

“Wanna make this bloody good for you,” he whispered, but Buffy tried to block her ears to the sound. She fisted her hands in his short hair, mussing the curls from the rigid prison of their gel.

The last thing she wanted was for him to be tender, drawing out her feelings. She desired rough, animalistic fucking that would make her forget all of her troubles. All she wanted was for him to take her, hurt her, purge her mind of coherent thought. With that aim in mind, it wasn’t long before she turned the kiss harder, more demanding.

Her tongue tangled with his, their teeth clashing against each other as they battled for the upper hand. No longer able to wait, Buffy’s hands wandered over the prominent bulge below Spike’s jeans. He was hard and throbbing underneath the rough, unforgiving denim, craving his release inside of her warmth.

She quickly pulled down his zipper, freeing the length of his cock as it leaped into her warm hand. The combination of her hot skin and the cool evening air on his cock almost pushed him over the edge but he gritted his teeth and held back. He was a professional after all and he’d had experience in holding back for hours.

The problem was…he’d never had to service the woman he loved before.

Yanking down her own pants, and shaking out of one of the legs, she spread herself for him, not giving him a chance to back away. Not that he would have backed away now. Even though in the back of his mind he was aware that she was using him, he wasn’t thinking with the big head anymore.

His fingers wandered over her pussy, rubbing her clitoris so furiously that it didn’t take long to draw a gush of juices from her, coating the palm of his hand and flooding over his wrist. The slippery little nub hardened under his attentions as he roughly pinched and twisted at it. Her eyes were screwed tightly shut as she lost herself in the terrible bliss he was subjecting her to.

Realizing she was ready to take him in, in one fluid stroke he lined up his pulsating dick with her sopping channel and sank inside. The blonde’s green eyes snapped open at the intrusion and she let out a lengthy moan, clearly not having expected him to fill her so fully.

“Bloody fuck!” he swore, pausing to adjust to the feeling of being inside.

In that moment the full gravity of the situation slammed into him. He was inside of the woman he loved. They were joined intimately and as she gazed down at him, her eyes filled with passion and lust and want for him he thought it might be the sweetest second of his whole existence.

A moan brought him back from his thoughts as Buffy sighed and gasped against him. “Please, Spike,” she mewled, needing him to move and take her and make her forget her pain.

“Don’t worry, pet. I’ll give you the ride of your bloody life.”

He plunged relentlessly into her hot depths, reaching places of her that had never been stimulated before. In every thrust he broke her apart and made her whole again. She was one raw nerve ending in his hands and he made her feel things she’d never felt before.

“So bloody tight, like a glove you fit me, don’t you, Summers?” Spike babbled, breathing in the sweet, powdery scent of Buffy’s neck as he slammed into her. “You’re perfect, everything I could want, pet. God, so bloody good.”

Buffy wasn’t listening to Spike’s constant stream of praise though. She tuned it out and focused only on the sensations he was generating in her body. The worries, the pain, the anger…they all fled from her mind leaving nothing else in the world other than her and Spike.

It was heaven.

Her clenched hands bit into his shoulders as she steadied herself atop him, but he didn’t complain even as her nails drew blood from him. The cruel wall grated against her sensitive back, but she didn’t complain either. That slight edge of pain only added another dimension to their experience.

When the orgasmic ecstasy finally slammed into her, Buffy flailed in her lover’s arms, her mouth dropping open in a perfect little ‘o’. She never wanted to allow this feeling to slip from her grasp.

As soon as Spike felt Buffy’s orgasm overtake her, he allowed his own pleasure to burst from deep within him.

“Bloody hell, Buffy!” he roared. “So fucking good. Such a wonderful, beautiful little cunt!”

His heavy balls tightened, her pussy milking him, and his load poured from within him, spilling into her. Their twin moans of completion filled the night air before silence reigned once more.

For several moments they rested against each other, trying to regain their stolen breath and recover from the torrent of pleasure that had inundated their senses. Finally, Buffy lowered her legs from around his waist, holding back the groan of loss as he slipped out of her sensitive depths.

“I have to go back inside,” she told him, her voice a bland monotone, grimacing slightly as his cooling juices ran down her legs. Refusing to look at him she yanked her pants back on and smoothed her mussed hair.

“We need to chat this out,” he replied, trying to keep his own voice just a steady and emotionless as hers.

“What is there to chat about?” Vacant eyes stared at him. “We had sex, we screwed, we fucked up against this goddamn wall while my mother might be dying in the OR. What we did was…dirty and disgusting and no one can ever know about it. I think that’s all there is to say, don’t you?”

Pushing past him, she made her way out of the alley, leaving the blond alone next to the dumpsters.

Only moments later, his own tears started to fall but he sniffled and steeled himself.



“Oh no!” Spike said to himself, as he watched Buffy’s retreating back. “It doesn’t get to bloody well end this way.”

Jogging after her, he caught up with the fleeing girl just before she managed to re-enter the hospital, and grabbed at her arm. Yanking her to his chest, he held her firm and tight in his grip.

“What the hell are you doing?” she gasped, shock and anger evident on her face.

“I’m ending my reign as your bloody whipping boy, Summers,” he told her forcefully. “I’m a strong man. I am. But there’s only so much even a bloke like me can take. And this is where it ends. I know you’re in pain what with your Mum and all that. I tried to give you what you wanted, love. Thought a bit of cold comfort might help you out. But I’m a man…a human being…and not some plastic dildo you can use and abuse and walk away from like I mean nothing to you. You can’t toss me in the trash, Summers. I won’t let you. Do you understand that?”

“I didn’t ask for anything from you,” she denied wrapping her arms around her chest.

“You never need to ask because I’m always there to give!”

“So what? I’m supposed to be grateful? Is that why you’re doing this? You think I’m gonna be all thank-y and fall into your arms because you fucked me?”

“I didn’t fuck you, Summers. I made love to you. I know it didn’t mean to you what it did to me but…”

“Oh my God! Do you really expect me to believe that pile of steaming crap? You fucked women for a living, Spike. You can’t feel anything real. I get that now. If you had any feelings you wouldn’t be here. You’d leave like they all do so I could just get used to being alone again! Instead you have to drag it out so…so I forget the pain. And then you’ll be gone like all of the others and I’ll have to feel it only it’ll be worse then. That’s the way this tune plays out, Spike.”

“You’ve really gone off your bird!” Spike exclaimed in disbelief. He was pretty sure that a psychiatrist could write the War and Peace of crazy about this girl right now. For the first time he truly wondered if she was actually beyond help. “Do you see me leaving? Do you?”

“Not yet,” Buffy muttered. “But they all do in the end. Even my Mom is leaving.”

“She’s not leaving, pet. She’ll be okay.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I don’t know that the world won’t implode in the next sixty seconds either, or that the sun won’t fall out of the bloody sky. But it’s called having faith.”

“I don’t think I have any faith left,” she admitted sadly, tears brushing her lower lids and she chewed on a lip, biting down hard enough to draw blood.

“Then let me have enough for both of us.” Seeing her softening, he begged her again, forgetting his vow to no longer act as her whipping boy. He knew he was only kidding himself when he denied being her willing slave. “Let me help you, Buffy. If you just put that little bit of trust in me I’ll prove I deserve it. Please?”

His expression was so open and guileless…so reassuring that Buffy finally let her guard down. Melting into his open arms, she laid her head against his chest, feeling the beating of his heart underneath his solid breast. Spike’s arms tentatively closed around her skinny back but soon he was holding her more tightly, satisfied she wouldn’t run away again.

He didn’t want to let himself hope…but he couldn’t help it. After what they’d shared Buffy should have been running away…she almost did. And yet…when she’d allowed herself to trust him only moments earlier he’d felt something shift between them. For the first time she was letting herself feel and she was doing it while her body was curled around him.

As Buffy clung tightly to the man who she knew loved her, a sharp pain coursed through her chest. She knew what it was…fear. Fear that she’d made the wrong choice in having sex with Spike, fear that she was making the wrong choice in letting him get closer.

She was still so scared to let him fully into her heart because she was afraid that it she did her life it would just end badly. Either way she would end up hurt, so wasn’t it easier to keep him at a safe distance and save them both from an even deeper pain that would surely come in the end?

But when he held her like this, her thoughts calmed too much to push him away again. She didn’t have the strength to let him go.

And she wasn’t sure that she wanted to.


This story archived at http://spikeluver.com/SpuffyRealm/viewstory.php?sid=37190