“Something’s going on with them.” He said tightly.
“What do you mean?” Willow asked.
Xander thought of actually telling what he suspected, but decided on a partial truth.
“I don’t know, I just think they’re spending too much time together. And Spike never stopped, you know, well, he just hangs around her all the time, and he’s got that accent, and he’s not bad looking, and she’s well, what kind of mood has she been in? She might do something stupid.”
“Spike’s not stupid.” Anya said thoughtfully.
“No, she wouldn’t…” Willow said worriedly. “It would be very unhealthy…he’s a bad person.”
“Well,” Anya said thoughtfully. “He did help a lot with us this summer.”
“That was just to make himself feel better after she died.” Xander said scornfully.
“How?” Willow asked softly. She looked as if she’d suddenly been zapped by something.
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“Yes, it does, he knew he screwed up, he, ah…” Xander was starting to get nervous as it dawned on him that he’d said something entirely different from what he’d wanted to.
“It wouldn’t make him feel better.” Willow said softly. “It would make him feel worse, being reminded of her all the time. He couldn’t stand the Buffybot after Buffy died. You didn’t see him, Xander, but I did.”
“Well, he should have, that was disgusting.”
“And he did.” Willow pointed out with just a bit of impatience. “But if you look at what he’s done, you can’t say he’s still the same.” Almost cringingly, she glanced around. “He did help us a lot, and we never really thanked him.”
“Well, why should we? Thank you for not killing us this year? Thanks for not eating us? It’s just that chip.”
“The chip only stops him, Xander. It doesn’t make him do some of the stuff he’s done.”
“He just wants Buffy to be his—“
“Well, if he’s evil, there’s nothing to stop him from getting all kinds of minions to seize Buffy or something for him. If that’s all he wanted, he wouldn’t have been so broken up when she died… And then, with Glory…”
“Just trying to curry favor with Buffy so he could…”
“Xander, you’re not listening to me. She was going to kill him. If all he wanted was, well, well…just, you know….”
“That’s just what Spike said.”
“He never said that, Xander. And you saw him. You saw how badly he was beaten up. And you know Buffy was going to his crypt just to stake him.”
“So he saved his skin.” Xander said impatiently. “That’s what he’s always done.”
“You’re not listening to me, Xander.”
“Why do you care so much?”
“Because it’s not fair.” Willow said softly. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I did see what he was like after Buffy died.”
“People change.” Willow said.
“He’s not a people, Will, he’s a vampire. He’s always been bad. And he’ll always be that way.”
Willow gave him a look. “Sure. And I’ll always be straight.” She gave him a look. “And maybe you will be, too.”
Spike sipped at his beer. “Don’t see them yet.”
“Not good.” Buffy said. “I bet they’re fighting. I just wonder who’s saying what.”
“Don’t worry. What would they do?”
“Well, you don’t care if they glare at you all the time…”
“They do that anyway.”
“And besides, they’ll probably give me the worst bridesmaid dress.”
“You look good in anything.” He leaned in very, very close. “Or nothing.”
She blushed furiously, and he wanted to kiss her badly it hurt.
“Ah. Judge Judy at three o’clock.” He nodded at an angry-looking little group approaching. “Just do what I do. Think of something else.” He smirked at her. “Me, for example. Naked.”
“That was helpful.”
“I aim to please.”
“I’ll have you know, my parents were married.”
“Shut up now.”
Bearing down on them, Willow studied the pair curiously, and she realized that Xander might be right. Buffy looked tense, but Spike looked entirely too relaxed, and he was leaning in Buffy’s direction, almost touching. Despite Buffy’s tension, there was something there, the way they were side by side, in almost identical positions. Buffy might be tense with the Scoobies, but she seemed entirely comfortable with Spike. Willow studied Spike, wondering if her judgement could be trusted. How could she judge Buffy for finding someone when all she herself had done was lose someone?
Xander gave Spike a withering look, which wasn’t as effective as he hoped, because Spike just smirked at him and made a kissy face.
“You know what they say, Harris? There’s a very fine line between love and hatred.”
Xander leaped off his chair as if it had been electrified, mouth opening to shout, but he never got the chance. Anya kissed him, and rather than shove her away, he gave in. Everyone raised their eyebrows, including Spike, whose eyes were so big they almost fell out.
Anya let Xander go, and there was a moment of silence as they all looked around. Spike was too smart to say something else, and everyone else was rather stunned.
“That’s called incentive.” Anya said by way of explanation. “Come on, Xander, let’s dance. That way they can talk about us.”
There were looks exchanged around the table, and all of them were wide-eyed.
“Well.” Spike drawled. “I really don’t know who to feel sorry for there.”
“Spike…” Willow said.
“Hey, not my fault.” Spike countered. “Can’t help it. He doesn’t need to be talking to the Slayer like that.”
Buffy and Willow looked at him simultaneously, Willow with dawning comprehension on her face, Buffy with an exasperated fondness. Then Buffy realized that Willow was looking at her, so she turned, and saw what was written on her friend’s face. She blushed, and if Willow hadn’t been sure before, she was certain then.
“I, uh, need some air.” She mumbled, and got up and left.
Willow sipped at Xander’s beer, then turned and looked at Spike. She looked at him for so long that he dropped his eyes, uncomfortable.
“If you hurt her, I will hurt you. I’ll come out of retirement for it, if you know what I mean.”
“You should ask whether or not she’ll hurt me. “ He said soberly. Then he got up and looked around for Buffy.
He found her on the catwalk, which was still covered with New Year’s decorations. If it hadn’t been for his vampire’s eyes, he would have missed her.
“What are you doing stuck up here?”
“Yes, that she does. “ He lit a cigarette, hands shaking. She looked so forlorn he couldn’t stand it. “Buff…”
“I wanted them to find out differently. I didn’t want it to be this way.”
“Buffy, it’s just Willow. “
“I think Xander knows too.”
“How? It’s not as if he were Sensitivity Boy or something.” He shrugged. “You were going to tell them eventually, weren’t you?”
“As soon as I figured it out myself. I haven’t figured it out myself.”
“Have you really tried?” He blurted out before he could stop himself.
“Yes, I have!” She was angry for a moment, then she was sad all over again. “I don’t know what’s happening to me. I don’t know where I belong any more.”
She looked at him with such a wounded look on her face that he couldn’t think of anything to do but fling his arms open, partly in exasperation, partly in offer. What he didn’t expect her to do, however, she actually did: She gave him another one of those sad looks, then stepped into his arms and wrapped her arms around him.
“I’m so scared.” She whispered.
“What they’ll do?”
“ I need them.”
“What about me?”
Buffy looked at him, gulping, and abruptly pulled away.
“I don’t want to, but I do.”
She stared down at the dance floor, braced against the railing. Spike tried to find something good in that statement, and decided to settle. He stepped up behind her, wrapping his arms around her, burying his face in her neck, but she flinched.
“I’ll make you want me.” He whispered.
He pressed tighter against her, sliding his arms up her stomach, cupping her breasts, feeling her nipples harden. She gulped.
“Why? How many times have we done this?” He whispered. “You always come after me, or actually, most of the time, it’s before and after, isn’t it? You come to me in the darkness, and you keep me there. Here’s the darkness, then, luv. What if your friends really find out?”
He slipped one hand down, down, downward, under her dress---odd how she’d started wearing dresses again, all of a sudden---and slipped under her panties, to find her already wet.
“Guess this’ll be another time, won’t it.”
She sounded seriously annoyed now and he really didn’t know where he was going, except right to the edge. He stroked her cleft repeatedly, till she was shuddering, and then she reached up with one hand and pulled him roughly till she could kiss him.
Between kisses, he took her other hand and put it on his crotch. She kissed him harder, and grabbed him so tightly he almost exploded right there.
“What if they see us, Buffy? We’re right here, what if they see us, what if they notice we’re both gone, what if they find us? Would you stop? Could you stop? What if you’re coming, could you stop, could you---“
He unzipped his pants, and shoved them down just enough to free his cock, which bounced eagerly against her bottom. She shoved back against him, breaking the kiss with a loud smacking noise.
“What? You sure? What’ll happen, Buffy, they’ll find us? What if we have to stop? They’ll see, they’ll see….”
He pulled his hand from her wetness and she gasped, then gasped even louder, as he pulled her hips back against him. His erection slipped between her legs, and slipped back and forth against her slippery cleft. She gasped again, and he muttered,
“Arch your back a bit, luv, let me inside, let me…”
She did exactly that, and he shoved inside her to the hilt. She let out a groan that she wasn’t able to contain, and he matched it with one of his own.
“They’re going to find us, Buffy, what are you going to say? I’m good enough for the darkness, aren’t I?”
He rocked against her, barely moving, while Buffy clutched the rail, and tried not to make any noise. Ridiculous. They had never done it like this before, and it felt different, deeper, harder. She felt his coat falling about her, and thought dimly that nobody could tell anyway, because he was barely moving, and his hands were locked on the railing outside of hers. And it didn’t last long; a few more hard thrusts, and he was sagging against her, sliding out of her, and she realized he had deliberately taken her for his own pleasure and left her hanging.
”That’s what you’ve been doing to him.“No. That’s exactly it. He makes you forget. He makes you feel, and he loves you, how could he turn away from you? He thinks this is as close as he’ll ever get to you. “
She turned around, almost tripping over her panties, which had wound up around one of her ankles. He was shamefacedly pulling his pants up, tucking himself in, looking embarrassed, almost ashamed of himself, and she found that she just could not stand for him to look like that.
She pulled her panties up, then off, because one side had been ripped entirely away, and it made no sense to try and salvage them. She couldn’t figure out how they got that way. He took a step toward her, then hesitated, obviously expecting her to be angry, and instead was totally surprised to find her pulling him to her by the lapels and kissing him sweetly.
”She’s just making up to you,” Spike’s inner voice pointed out. ”I don’t care. She’s kissing me. This is all I’ve got”.
They tore apart, shocked, to look at Willow, standing tentatively on the landing for the catwalk. Her face was almost as red as her hair.
“Uh…Uh…Guys?” She cleared her throat. “Um, we’re leaving. It’s boring here, so we’re taking off.”
”So were we”, thought Spike. “What did she see?”
Buffy swayed next to him, and he grabbed her arm.
“’s okay, Slayer.” I hope.
Continued in Chapter 5