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The vampire threw Tara and Giles off, sending them rolling across the night-dampened grass. Buffy launched herself at him, fists flying only to have her punch blocked as the vampire captured her fist in its own large hand. Adding to the indignity he then picked her up over his shoulder as if she were little more than a doll. Buffy felt the jarring impact of her feet connecting with Spike’s face as the large vampire swung her around before hurling her bodily at Tara.
“Tara, down!” Willow’s voice sounded clearly in her girlfriend’s head, the warning coming with just enough time for the young wiccan to duck before the Slayer flew overhead, landing hard against a grave marker.
Giles quickly snatched up his axe and aimed a blow at the vampire’s neck, only to be spun around when the creature grabbed the weapon. The smooth timber handle pressed hard against his throat as the vampire turned his own weapon on him, using it to pin him by the throat against the wrought iron fence.
“Spike.” Giles croaked reluctantly, even now after working side by side with the peroxided vampire for several months having to call upon his one-time enemy for life-saving assistance grated on his every nerve.
Spike jumped on the large vampire’s back, his presence barely making an impact on the other vampire as it continued to throttle the Watcher. After several attempts at pulling the much larger vampire away from his feebly struggling fellow-Englishman Spike shrugged and stepped back with a sigh, reaching into his duster for a cigarette.
“Spike!” Giles’ voice sounded once more, disbelief coloured his tone as he watched his supposed ally step back for an untimely smoke break.
“What are you doing? Help him!” Willow’s order echoed in the blonde vampire’s head.

With a nonchalance that belied their current situation, Spike replied, “I did,” his upper lip curling in a contemptuous sneer as he casually lit his cigarette.
Seconds later the tiny flame Spike had set to burning on the vampire’s back spread, rapidly engulfing not only the back of the creature’s shirt but fanning out to encompass the rest of their highly flammable combatant. Releasing the watcher the now-flaming vampire staggered backwards before bursting into a shower of dust. Giles quickly raised his arm, shielding his face as his would-be-assassin’s dust rained down on him.
After taking a deliberately slow drag on his cigarette Spike sauntered over to Giles, leaning down and holding out his hand to help the other man up.
“You might have let me in on your plan while he throttled me.” Giles complained as he regained his feet.
“Oh, poor Watcher. Did your life pass before your eyes? Cuppa tea, cuppa tea, almost got shagged, cuppa tea.” Spike asked with a condescending smirk.
Spike quietly closed the door behind him, dulling but not quite managing to shut out the exuberant voices that floated up from the kitchen as they recapped the night’s events like small children reliving in infinite detail all the wonder of an exciting day at the carnival.   
After checking that the curtains were firmly secured he kicked off his boots and carelessly dropped his duster to pool on the floor next to them before he lay down wearily, too tired to shed any further layers. His head sank into the pillow and his eyes slowly closed as Buffy’s scent drifted comfortingly up from the soft cotton to surround him. Turning his head slightly he breathed deeply and allowed her scent to wash over him, filling him, pervading every crevice of his being.
“Hey sleepyhead, aren’t you having a shower?” Buffy asked from the doorway, clicking the door closed behind her as she entered the room. A soft, oversized white towel wrapped snugly around her, her freshly washed skin glowed, its usual golden tones now pink from the heat of the shower, beads of water clung tantalisingly and a gentle hint of rose mingled with the warm scent of her skin. A slight frown creased her brow as her eyes drifted down the vampire’s black-clad body, “Eww, Spike, couldn’t you at least take your smelly socks off before you put your feet on the bed?”
Spike rolled to his side, propping himself up on one elbow and allowing his eyes to trail slowly over her body, drinking in every detail before coming to rest on her face. The tiny frown, the slight pout and the way her beautiful green eyes narrowed in irritation should have been enough to elicit an apology and the immediate removal of said offending articles of clothing; instead blue eyes sparkled as Spike arched an eyebrow at her before answering, the smirk gracing his lips echoed clearly in his voice, “I don’t have smelly feet.”
“And I do?” Buffy asked indignantly, her hand resting on her hip, one dainty foot tapping against the soft pile of the carpet.
“Well…” He didn’t get the chance to complete the observation, instead he found himself fending off the relentless attack of a damp, semi-naked slayer determined to make him ‘take it back’.
Buffy launched herself at the smugly grinning vampire. Straddling his hips she pinned him to the bed while she poked, pinched and tweaked with rapid accuracy. With a mischievous giggle she ripped the tee out from the waistband of his jeans and began pulling viciously at the thin line of hairs on his belly resulting in a stream of English curses and the rich, velvety timbre of his laughter interspersed occasionally with sharp unmanly squeaks. He bucked and squirmed beneath her and she locked her knees tightly to his side in a move that would have broken the ribs of a human. Rather than subduing the vampire her actions seemed to fuel his competitive streak. Buffy rapidly found herself identifying with a rodeo cowboy as she employed all her slayer strength and agility in order to hang on to the sinuously bucking and twisting vampire.
Realising that her chosen torture was never going to achieve the desired results she changed tactics. Her hands traced his body greedily as she leaned forward to trail gentle kisses along his jaw to his neck. Buffy worked her way down his jugular alternately nipping and kissing at the sensitive flesh while grinding herself against the rapidly hardening denim-encased bulge beneath her. His eyes darkened from a bright laughing blue to deep, smouldering pools of lust. The urgently bucking hips beneath her no longer attempted to displace but rather to further the desperately required contact. At his deep moan of longing she bit down hard on her lower lip to stifle her own answering moan and forced herself to still her movements, demanding once again that he take back his accusation.
“Why you evil little…” Spike growled. With preternatural speed he captured her, his hands grasping her hips almost painfully as he flipped them and settled himself comfortably between her thighs.
The warm, musky scent of her desire perfumed the air as he leaned down, gently claiming her lips with the softest whisper of a caress before moving to trace lightly along her jaw to her ear. His cool lips brushed against the warmth of her throat sending tingles of longing coursing through her body and a fresh flood of moisture to dampen her thighs. Goosebumps prickled her skin as he murmured softly, “’s not nice to tease a vampire, kitten.”
 Buffy whimpered and wrapped her arms around him attempting to pull him closer as her hips lifted from the mattress, automatically reaching for him.
“Uh uh,” he chastised, capturing her wrists and pinning them together over her head with one hand, leaving the other free to wreak vengeance on the slayer’s flesh. Spike allowed his hand to travel teasingly across Buffy’s body, fingers barely touching her flushed skin. He carefully pried open the towel with his free hand, folding it back unhurriedly, leaving the slayer naked under his intent, burning gaze. His fingers traced languorously along her breastbone before following the curve along the underside of one soft, full mound. The gentle caress continued along her side to brush with agonising slowness across her hyper-sensitive armpit before trailing up the soft underside of her arm.
His tongue snaked out between blunt white teeth to form a hard point. Following in the path his fingers had set, it barely grazed her skin as he tasted her, lapping the beads of sweat that formed between her breasts. Keeping his movements deliberate and unhurried he made his way around and then up the smooth, pale mound to the dusky centre. He slowly circled the hard, aching nipple of the breast his fingers had recently teased, his cool breath across the now-damp flesh further tightening the painfully needy little bud. Buffy’s whimpers increased as he moved to withdraw without providing the contact her body so desperately craved. With a swiftness that was far removed from the slow torture he had maintained for what seemed to her hours, he seized the aching peak with his teeth, nipping sharply.
Buffy gasped, her body arching off the bed at the sudden, unexpected and blissfully exquisite pain. She tugged in a vain attempt to free her hands from his grasp and mewled quiet little whimpers at her lack of success, wanting nothing more than to bury her fingers in the soft blonde locks, holding his cool, clever mouth to her aching nipple.
Spike continued his torturous exploration of Buffy’s body with both fingers and mouth, alternating between touches so gentle as to be an excruciating torment and sharp sudden nips to soft, golden skin until Buffy quivered helplessly beneath his touch. Breathless needy pleas escaped her lips as she screwed her eyes tightly shut, a couple of tears succeeding in working their way beneath the lids, their sharp salty tang discerned immediately by the vampire’s keen senses.
Releasing her wrists Spike quickly made his way back up her body, gently kissing her eyelids as her now-free arms encircled him, clutching desperately at his back as if terrified he would pull away again.
“’m sorry, love.” he whispered against her rapidly fluttering eyelids, “I didn’t mean to hurt you, kitten. I’m a bad man.” His voice was filled with remorse at having taken the teasing so far.
Buffy rapidly shook her head, denying his words as she tried to steady her breathing enough to answer him, “No, Spike.” She clutched him tighter, her fingers digging almost painfully into his back, “You didn’t do anything to be sorry for. It was… oh, god… it was so good. Too good… I just…” Her words trailed off as she reached for his lips, capturing them hungrily in a deep, longing kiss until her need for air forced them apart.
Spike stroked her face gently, murmuring endearments as he gently kissed and nibbled at her lips. When Buffy reached for the hem of his shirt he quickly obliged, rapidly pulling it over his head and dropping it to the floor. He toed his socks off, kicking them off the bed to join the rapidly growing collection. Buffy claimed his lips once more, with less urgency this time, her lips brushing gently across his even as her hands ran warm, tingling trails across his chest and down to trace the lines of his abdomen towards their target.
Spike reached out to gently trace the soft swell of Buffy’s lip with his tongue, when her lips parted granting him entry he tentatively explored with light sweeps along the inside of her lip and slow, lingering caresses along the back of her teeth as his tongue continued it’s investigations before finally tangling with hers—a slow intimacy, simple and unhurried, with none of the heated passion of previous encounters and yet so profound that he felt his heart would burst from the overpowering surge of love that filled it.
A deep sigh escaped him, the tension against his eagerly straining cock easing as Buffy’s questing fingers found their mark popping his fly buttons in one quick move. He smiled against her lips as she pushed impatiently at the material and he lifted his hips to assist her, finally kicking the jeans off once she had pushed them low enough. Spike settled back between Buffy’s thighs, the head of his cock resting against her warm, moist folds.
His eyes locked with hers; love, trust and desire burned in their verdant depths and with slow deliberation he pressed forward, slowly sheathing himself in her warmth. A soft sigh escaped each of them as their bodies joined, a sense of completion suffused their beings and for long moments the only movement was the gentle, harmonious rise and fall of their chests as they lost themselves in each other’s eyes.
Spike brushed a stray lock of hair from Buffy’s face before leaning in to capture her bottom lip lightly between his teeth, nibbling gently for a moment before claiming her lips in a deep, languorous kiss. Their hips rocked gently as the kiss continued, breaking intermittently to allow Buffy to breathe. Hands tenderly stroked accessible skin, worshipful touches slowly building in urgency until a deep raging fire burnt between them.
Without breaking rhythm Spike twisted quickly, flipping them over with a satisfied moan as Buffy sat up, the change in angle seating him even deeper within her. He smiled up at his beautiful Slayer; her eyes gleamed, her skin flushed with desire, her tousled hair tumbled over her shoulders and her breasts swayed gently, tantalisingly in time with their hips.
“So beautiful.” he murmured reverently, his hands sweeping from her waist upwards, skimming the outer curves of her breasts and continuing on to slide around her back to urge her gently forward until he was able capture her mouth once again for a deep, searing kiss. Breaking off the kiss he freed her to sit up once again, his hands coming to rest on her hips, grasping them firmly and encouraging her movements as his own hips bucked up towards her, urging a deeper, faster pace than before.
His hands roamed greedily across her body stroking the soft skin, delighting in the play of her strong slayer muscles as she rode him. He cupped her soft, full breasts, gently stroking his thumbs across the dusky pink nipples before leaning up to capture first one, then the other in his mouth. His hands trailed cool fire against her back, one sweeping down along her spine to the rounded swell of her ass, the other upwards to bury itself in the soft fragrant waves of honey-blonde silk. He worshiped her with his touch, all the while keeping up a litany of praises to both her beauty and skill.
Her breathing hitched sharply before continuing in ragged gasps as she collapsed forward, her hands coming to rest on his chest for support; the powerful orgasm held her writhing in its grip as her lover grasped her hips once more tightening his hold almost painfully as he pounded into her, his own release following hers closely. Her arms gave way and Buffy slumped forward, sprawling limply across him, her gasping breath searing heated blasts against his cool skin as small tremors continued to shake her tiny frame.
The pounding tattoo of her heart as she rested against his chest reverberated through him as her warm, fragrant body draped bonelessly across him. He held her close, his arms snaking protectively around her bare back, one hand rhythmically stroking the warm silken skin as the other tangled in the wild, sweat-drenched golden mane. Nuzzling his cheek against the top of her head he whispered soft words of love and devotion as her hands tightened, clutching his shoulders with fierce possessiveness for a moment before succumbing once more to the pleasure-induced lassitude.
“I love you,” Buffy breathed quietly against his chest as she pressed a kiss to the pale, silky skin. She smiled, squeezing him with her strong internal muscles, gently at first and then more firmly as he slowly began to move within her once more.
Flipping them over and settling back between her thighs he continued his slow, unhurried rhythm as he claimed her mouth for a bone-melting kiss.  
Buffy’s fingers curled deeply into soft blonde locks guiding her lover to her pulse, a whispered, “Please,” escaping her lips followed by a contented sigh as razor-sharp fangs gently pierced the smooth flesh, burying themselves in her throat. His gentle pulls on her blood sent shivers of ecstasy coursing through her body and together they tumbled once more into bliss.

Curled blissfully around her lover’s body Buffy reached out, allowing her fingers to brush across the lushness of the vampire’s soft, full lip, from there they drifted up to gently stroke his cheek before cupping it tenderly. ‘How had she ever thought him incapable of love?’ she wondered to herself as he nuzzled lovingly into her touch, his clear, blue eyes so obviously filled with love and adoration as their eyes met that her breath caught.
“Spike, I…” she began, unmindful of the sheet that slipped to her waist as she propped herself up on one elbow to afford her a better view. Her eyes brimmed, her lip trembling slightly as she gazed in wonder at her lover’s beautiful face and tried to summon the words to tell him how sorry she was for the way she had treated him in the recent past, to make him understand how much he meant to her and how she could no longer even begin to imagine her life without him by her side.  Swallowing hard she drew a deep calming breath before continuing quietly, “There is so much I need to say. So many things I…”
“Shhh, love. There’s no need, kitten. No need.” Spike rolled to face her gathering her against him and kissing her gently. His lips ghosted across hers as he murmured his reassurances. He ran his fingers through the long golden locks, stroking her hair with one hand and running gentle soothing caresses down her back with the other.
“Please Spike,” she protested, “I want to tell you, I need to.”
He spoke quietly, his voice thick with emotion as he conceded, “Alright, pet, if you have to, but not now. Now isn’t the time for regrets or recriminations from either of us, another time, my love. My slayer. My Buffy.” He watched her face as he spoke her name; a soft smile gently curved her lips, her eyes filled with love before darkening with desire.
Her lips claimed his once more; her fingers winding themselves into the soft curls at the nape of his neck, seeking to deepen the kiss even as she fought unsuccessfully to stifle a deep yawn. Breaking the kiss with a chuckle Spike gently pressed a finger against her lips his eyes dancing at her whimper of protest.
“Shh. Sleep, love. Plenty of time for more of that after we get some rest.” He matched actions to his words, laying back against his pillow and gently urging her to rest her head against his chest.
She smothered yet another yawn before mumbling sleepily, “And I don’t have smelly feet”.
Spike laughed softly, shaking his head at her tenacity. “Course you don’t, pet,” he answered, planting a light, lingering kiss to the top of her head.
Smiling happily, she brushed soft butterfly kisses against his chest and snuggled her cheek more comfortably against him, one arm and leg draped possessively across his body as she wrapped herself around him. He held her close, one hand continuing to run a soothing rhythm through her hair while the fingers of his other hand linked with hers, his thumb maintaining the same rhythm against the back of her hand.
With a contented sigh Buffy gave in to her body’s needs, her breathing and heartbeat slowing as she drifted gently to sleep in her vampire’s arms. Spike burrowed his nose lightly into the fragrant warmth of her hair, with his cheek resting against the top of her head he breathed a quiet, “Love you Buffy,” before peacefully giving in to exhaustion and following his love into sleep, a gentle smile curled at the corners of his mouth lending his features a boyish innocence generally absent whilst awake.
A soft tapping against their door drew him unwillingly towards consciousness, “Who is it?” he mumbled sleepily, his voice low so as not to disturb the peacefully sleeping woman at his side.
Dawn’s voice sounded quietly through the door, “I couldn’t sleep. I… could I…” he could hear the tears and hesitation in her voice as the fifteen-year-old’s pride warred with her need for comfort and reassurance as yet another terrifying nightmare had her vacating the warmth of her bed in exchange for the shelter and security of theirs.
“Give us a minute, Nibblet, just need to throw some clothes on.” As he spoke he forced sleep-heavy eyelids to open and reached gently for Buffy to let her know he was going to see to Dawn.
Warm, fragrant slayer dissolved under his hand, transforming into the soft cool cotton of Buffy’s pillow. He blinked away the last vestiges of sleep with an aching reluctance, his mind fighting frantically, desperate to deny the reality of his still fully clothed body, the pillow he had held crushed against him in lieu of his slayer’s warm pliant form and the deep painful void within that her love had so recently and completely filled.
The lure of unconsciousness beckoned, enticing him back to a world in which he was not only allowed to love but in which his love was returned unequivocally by his beautiful, fiercely passionate slayer. Tortured blue eyes screwed tightly closed as Spike swallowed hard against the fresh surge of grief that threatened to overwhelm him, his hands fisting against his side until sharp nails bit deeply into soft flesh. “Buffy.” one word—a prayer, a denial, a promise—ripped in a ragged sob from the depths of his being as he awoke fully to the agonising truth of a world in which he had failed the woman he loved. A deep, aching loss gripped him as his mind replayed in slow motion each moment leading to her last on this earth; his inadequacy having ultimately led to her death. Tears brimmed and he closed his eyes tightly as he relived in infinite detail his failure and her subsequent plummet from the tower, a ritual he had performed countless times since her death.
“Spike?” the scared little-girl voice broke through his grief, Dawn needed him. While ever that remained the case he couldn’t rest, couldn’t give in to the all but overwhelming temptation of lying down with his love to await the tender, merciful kiss of the rising sun.
He had no choice but to continue—to drag himself through each barren day despite the cold, gnawing emptiness that ate at his heart—until the day finally arrived when his lil’ bit no longer needed him. When that day came he would be free to go to Buffy—free to find what little solace he could in the knowledge that, despite the fact that a creature like himself could never hope to share an afterlife with such as her, his dust, at least, would rest with his love forever. He lifted a trembling hand, dashing away the tears that had slowly begun to wend their way down his cheeks before making his way across the room to open the door.  
His arms filled suddenly with a softly sobbing teen and he wrapped her close, kissing her hair, rocking her gently and murmuring quiet, soothing assurances that he didn’t believe. Spike endeavoured to calm his heartbroken charge, shaking off his own anguish as she clung to him desperately, her slight body shuddering violently with the force of her grief. After some time her tears dried and she relaxed somewhat in his arms. He gently tilted her chin until she was looking at him, her beautiful blue eyes were red and swollen and his heart ached further for every tear she spilled and every moment of pain that touched her.
“C’mon, kitten,” his thumb gently stroked her cheeks dry as he smiled tenderly at her, “how ‘bout I make us both a cup of hot chocolate and we go watch some telly, nice an’ quiet like ‘til you fall asleep?”
She nodded silently, slipping her hand into his as he led her down the stairs to the kitchen.
the end