"Why? It was a hundred years ago!" Anya sulked.
"But this was now." Buffy leaned in the kitchen doorway, and looked at Anya fidgeting at the center block. The ex demon looked distinctly guilty, and that was just fine with Buffy. Stay that way, she thought.
"Don't suppose you ever thought Hallie might be a danger to us, did you?"
"Oh, no, that's stupid. She didn't even like the guy, and who knew you were boinking him? She was the one that rejected him and men don't usually like that. Maybe the person we should be worried about is Spike."
"Don't even try that with me, Anya." Buffy said icily. "What happened all this summer, when I was... dead?" She swallowed, throat suddenly closed. "You might be able to overlook that, but I can't. I won't."
"Fine. Just don't think he's changed because he's boning you."
"Don't ever say that around me again."
"At least I've changed; Spike's still a vampire."
"A vampire who hasn't hurt anybody in forever. The thing is, Anyanka," Buffy said, deliberately stressing her former name, "if Spike's changed, it's because he's changed himself. You got forced into it."
"He was chipped." Anya said scornfully.
"And you were stopped. Giles did it, and you weren't happy about it. What made you change so much?"
"Xander." Anya said quietly.
"Why do you think what you do with him is so different than what I do with Spike? Is that--" she shuddered a bit -- "boinking?"
"Because I never figured you'd be one to like the French maid's outfit or the handcuffs.....?"
"Uggghh, that's it, out. There will be no possibility of continuing this conversation. I just meant..." She had to look down to collect herself. "Is it just sex with you two? That's all? Nothing more?"
Anya also looked away. "I had sex. When I was a demon." She studied her toes. "That's not what it's like with Xander."
"Then you know why I don't want you to use that word about... Spike. And. Me. I just don't like it." She was struck by a sudden thought. "Is that all it was for you when you were a demon? Just... you know...?"
Anya shrugged. "Pretty much."
"Well, she plays the field a lot." Anya said thoughtfully, considering it. "And then she levels it."
"You don't suppose...?"
"Has she ever been in love?"
Anya looked puzzled at the idea. "No. Vengeance demons don't love."
"Really." Anya crossed her heart. "Can I go now? We're obviously not going to talk about sex any more, and I'm not real good at the other subject."
"Who is?" Buffy asked sadly, and they looked at each sympathetically, a bit startled. "And....Anya.....?"
"Yes, right, I know. No telling Xander."
Buffy watched her leave, uneasy. Having sex and making money were Anya's two most favorite hobbies in the world; talking about sex came in third. How long would it be before she just forgot and blurted it out? It was too juicy a tidbit to keep to herself. She stared at the door as if it had caused her problems, the impulse to get up and slam it almost irresistible. She settled for glaring at it instead.
Spike's still a vampire, she thought.
Maybe I should've asked Anya how she liked being human.
Maybe I should ask Spike.
Buffy tiptoed through the silent house, easing by the sleeping girls in the living room, past Willow sleeping at the door, past Tara sleeping in the hallway. Tara mumbled in her sleep as she glided past, and Buffy smiled just slightly at the witch as she went past. She hopped up the stairs, avoiding the fourth one, which squeaked, and slid through her own door with a sigh of relief. She plopped down on her bed with a sigh.
After being tired all day, she was suddenly un tired; she was more than un-tired, she was positively restless. The little discussion with Anya had gotten her blood pressure up, and she couldn't very well do jumping jacks to relieve the tension. Maybe she should patrol a bit. No, definitely not. Girls downstairs, and Lorne rooting through his pockets looking for Angel's phone number, which she carefully avoided mentioning that she of course had. Not giving him Angel's number meant A) she could avoid that whole subject; and B) have an excuse to ask Spike a favor. Not that she was going to, though. She absolutely was not going to go to him. Nope, not her. She was morally certain she was right, and defending Spike to Anya had really clinched the deal.
She couldn't believe she'd actually defended Spike to Anya. But 'boinking'? There was simply no way she could allow Anya to use that word.
Spike flopped down in his old chair and scowled at his TV as if it had personally offended him. The perils of not having cable. That was the only reason he'd gone to the door twice so far this evening, and both times had stopped as if slapped. Nope. He was morally certain he'd been right to go stomping out in a hissy fit. That woman had broken his heart -- actually she'd stopped it, if you wanted to get technical, and he was going to have a little chat with Anya sometime soon as well. He might very well include Harris in it, as well; especially after finding out that not only had Anya played a part in his changing circumstances, but hadn't even mentioned to him, either.
He started patting his pockets, looking for cigarettes, ignoring the one hanging, unlit, from his lips. Damn. No fags. He was just going to have to go get them, then. He stood up, scanning the area for his lighter, even taking the cigarette out of his mouth absently because he couldn't see around it. Nope. No cigarettes. With a noticeable lightness to his step, he grabbed his duster and shrugged it on, heading for the door. Shame about the convenience store being so close to Buffy's house, but...
Jamming his hands in his pockets, he encountered a small, hard object. He was just opening the door to his crypt when he pulled out his Marlboros, and looked down at them. Full box, too. Damn. He stopped, annoyed, then tossed the duster on its hook and flopped back down in his chair again.
"Well... What are you doing in Sunnydale?"
"What, are you my mother? Just send me some money out of petty cash and I'll pay it back to you."
"Could you stop yelling?"
"I'm not yelling."
"Well, could you stop doing whatever it is you're doing? Because it hurts."
"It hurts? Well.... What was that you were drinking? I must try that stuff. Absinthe?" He rolled the word off his tongue. "It even sounds decandent. Now there's something you don't see everyday in a beverage."
"You're a vampire; I'm a demon. Don't we get exemptions or something like that?"
Angel was either still extremely drunk or was just getting extremely hungover, but either way his voice sounded like something rattling over a gravel road. Even so, he sounded amused. "No, I'm afraid. No tax deductions for us. Hang on."
I'm in Sunnydale, Lorne thought. Is there something else I could be doing except for lounging around this suburban kitchen, and critiquing the décor? He heard rattles, shuffles, papers crinkling, banging doors, and after each of these individual sounds, a slight moan from Angel. There was a completely silent pause, during which he pictured Angel standing motionless in the center of the room, letting the phone dangle, clutching his head with both hands.
"Hang on." Angel whispered again.
"Well.... we don't seem to have any petty cash." Angel said. "Just stay there. Where are you?"
"Uh.... I'm at Buffy's house."
There was an eloquent silence, which, in the nature of guilty people, he felt compelled to fill. "I found her. Only person I knew, you know."
"How, ah, did you get to Sunnydale in the first place?"
"That's over and done with. So how am I getting home?"
A voice in the background asked Angel something, and Lorne sagged against the counter in relief. The phone dropped to the floor with what sounded like a crash, and then a different voice came on. "Lorne?" Wes said. "I'll come get you."
"Angel doesn't know anything."
"Let's keep it that way, shall we?"
Buffy rolled over on her side and stared at the window and was confronted by an all too vivid mental image. Spike climbing in the window, after she'd left it open. What a far cry from strands of garlic that was. She turned over on her back, and looked at the ceiling. This brought the mysterious stain into view, which was not exactly relaxing. She turned over on her other side, staring at the bathroom door, scene of far too many bubble bath extravaganzas with Spike. Well, now there was a restful thought. Cranky bastard.
She kept comparing and contrasting the two different faces she saw; private Spike and public Spike. That was the thing she kept coming back to, since that night -- The night that dare not speak its name. She sighed. He had this way of wrapping himself around her, cradling her head in the crook of one elbow, while he toyed with the strands of her hair with just his fingertips. And then there was the kisses, some of them so light she could barely feel them, or taste them, others so forceful they made her go limp and boneless and shaky. Too say nothing of everything else he did. It wasn't even the way he moved when he was inside her, lost in it, driving into her, making her crazy, making her scream; it was the way he stared into her face, as if he was looking for something. She'd almost expected the sex to be the way it was; what she hadn't expected was the man.
And her! That took some getting used to, as well. She had been so certain that both her faces were identical, that she was always the same Buffy, that this whole thing had come as a terrible shock. She had always been the same, before this, before Spike.... Now she knew she was a different person in private, and the shock of what Spike had turned out to be like in private had scared her. She remembered her confusion the first night, the night she couldn't think about too often. She could only think about bits and pieces; the way he'd actually glanced down as she came down on him, as if he couldn't believe it; the way something more than clothing had seemed stripped away from him. She couldn't shake the thought that she had seen him for the first time in years, and maybe he had as well.
Who could love someone like that? She thought. Not anyone she knew. And who could be loved? She went back to that thought. To be loved; that was something. You had to allow that, give consent to that. It was something that could be accepted... or not. And what came after?
Now there was a wonderful thought. She flopped back on her back, and crossed her arms, glaring at the ceiling as if it was the ceiling's fault. Fine, then. She'd just have to go patrolling. She'd never have to think her way in circles before. He wanted to be that way, it was just fine...
She jumped out of bed, grabbed sweatpants and tee shirt, and yanked them on. He wanted to play games, well, good, that just wasn't going to go over well with her, not after... She started to climb out the window, then found herself face-to-face with Spike, and jumped at the sight of him. They goggled at one another for a minute, and then he pulled himself through the window, while she backed up as far as the bed. He followed, reaching for her, reaching for her face, and the kiss dissolved all her irritation and made her liquid. "Mmmmm...." She sighed, a sound that went straight down his spine. Then she remembered that someone had to be the voice of reason.
"Stop." This was somewhat contradicted by the way her arms climbed around his shoulders, and pulled him closer, even while her mouth continue kissing him.
"I will if you will." True up to a certain point, but he was rapidly reaching that point, and Buffy actually got there before he did.
"Yes, I know." Fumbling her onto the bed, wiggling against each other, desperate for skin and sweat and friction, pulling and tugging clothes aside, stopping for a second as Spike shrugged out of the duster. Somehow he managed to do that and pull her sweats down, kissing his way back up her body and pushing inside her all at once. "Quiet. Quiet. Oh, quiet..." He braced himself, not daring to move, trying to imagine the consequences of being found in this position...But then she pulled him in, arms and body and motion, and he didn't care if Angel himself found them, just so long as he could look down at her face and see every flash of pleasure across it. He rocked into her, barely moving, holding himself off of her, but she spoiled his self-control, shoving his tee shirt up, trying to find skin somewhere. "Shhhh...." He whispered. She pulled him all the way down to her, all the way in, and they rocked together, silently, Buffy panting in his ear, hands grasping at him as if she were going to drown. She struggled and wriggled beneath him, shoving away her sweatshirt, pushing his tee shirt up. They stared into each other's eyes, willing silence, doubting it, starting to feel a shudder every time he surged forward, starting to wait for it. "Oh, God," Buffy whispered. "Oh, oh, oh, oh..." She heaved under him as if she was trying to buck him off of her, but instead she was pulling closer, her arms tightening, all her muscles tightening. He felt it, felt it all along his skin, inside him, inside her, and black things danced before his eyes. It seemed to start at the base of his spine gathering strength, surging up his nerves. He stared into her eyes, thinking, I love watching you do that. She was clutching his face in her hands now, watching him shudder, feeling him, which only seemed to prolong it. He threw his head back out of her grasp, beyond all control now, shoving hard into her, feeling something break inside him, shatter and implode, breaking all his bones, blackening his vision. He sagged to her shoulder, blinking at the spots dancing in his eyes. He knew he was gasping for air like a beached fish, knew she must be, too, but his ears were so numb he couldn't hear it. His head was throbbing, but he couldn't understand why, any more than he could understand his fingers tingling. But some dim corner of his mind was aware that she was stroking his bare back under the shirt he still haphazardly wore, and that her other hand was twined with his.
Continued in Chapter 30