PAIRING: Spike/Willow. Spike/Tara & Spike/Buffy implied
RATING: NC-17 overall
SPOILERS: Season 6 through “As You Were”.
DISCLAIMER: All hail Joss Whedon, UPN, the WB, FOX, Mutant Enemy and 20th Century Fox Film Corporation. GO team! Theirs, not mine.
DISTRIBUTION: Please ask my permission first, just so I know where it’s headed.
FEEDBACK: Sure, fire away to email@example.com
“Can I get you some aspirin or water or something?” asked Willow.
“Blood,” I said, trying to keep my head as still as possible. “There are bags in the refrigerator.” I heard her walk away. My head was pounding, a throbbing drumbeat sounding between my ears.
“You need to stop drinking, Spike,” said Willow. “Or possibly dating. Women make you drink.” She slipped a bag of blood into my hand.
“Not all women,” I said as I ripped into the bag of blood. “I just need to pick ones that aren’t going to stomp on my heart and smash it to bits.”
“Unfortunately, there is no prescreening process to determine who is good for you and who is bad,” said Willow. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell.” I felt her slide under the covers beside me, resting just out of reach.
“Sometimes it’s pretty clear though,” I said. “Like vampire loves Slayer. That one was destined to end badly.” I drank my blood, sucking it down greedily.
“Girl falls for werewolf didn’t end well,” she said. “Neither did Wiccan girl falls for Wiccan girl, and that one looks good on paper.”
“Well, vampire falls for vampire didn’t pan out well for me,” I said. “Although, really, it was more vampire falls for human and then vamps him.”
“Ex-demon falls for normal guy seems to be working out pretty well,” she said.
I finished the bag and tossed it on the floor. “You should listen to my answering machine, then rethink your position.” I rolled over and looked over at her. “We’re kind of dancing around the issue, pet. Are you sorry that we shagged?” I brushed her hair away from her face so I could see her.
She blushed. “I’m not sorry about anything we did,” she said. I pulled down the sheet from her neck and took a look. The punctures in her neck were small and not very noticeable, but her breast looked horrible. Two large puncture wounds were surrounded by livid bruising.
“I can’t believe that you let me bite you, Willow.” I traced around the edges of the wounds and she winced. “Christ, this is savage. You were generous enough to let me feed and then I rip into you like an animal.”
“It’s okay,” she said. “I know you couldn’t help it.”
“If I hadn’t been drunk off my ass I would have done a better job of it,” I told her. “I should have been gentle with you, gone slow, not just taken you like some newly turned git.” I got out of bed. “Let me get you some ice for that.”
“It’s really okay, Spike,” she said. I ignored her and went to the kitchen, wrapping a handful of ice in a dish towel and coming back to bed. I turned on the light.
“Lie back and rest,” I told her, moving in close to her. I put the ice on her breast and she winced. She was so pale, and looked drawn. “We’re going to go out to dinner as soon as you’re feeling better. You need to build up your iron, have plenty of fluids. Or maybe I should just order something in, let you rest up.”
“You don’t need to go to any trouble,” she said.
I pulled the ice away from her breast, and the sight of the wound filled me with shame. “I don’t understand why you let me do this,” I said. “What the bleeding fuck were you thinking, Willow?” I got up and rummaged around in the closet, looking for the first aid kit that I’d bought to carry on patrol.
“I wasn’t really thinking right at that moment,” she said lamely. I found it and brought it back to the bed. I opened it up and dabbed antibiotic ointment on the wound. The bite was very deep and ragged, a real rip job.
“I could have killed you,” I told her. “How could I have been so stupid?” I pressed a gauze bandage over her wound and taped it into place.
She opened her eyes and looked at me sadly. “You seemed to really want me,” she said slowly, “and I liked the way that felt.”
I saw the yearning in her face, the need underneath her sadness. “Is that why you didn’t just ask me to make love with you?” I asked her. “What you really wanted was sex and you thought you had to let me bite you to get it?”
“Well…yes.” She turned away in embarrassment.
“I am the world’s worst dating option at the moment, love,” I told her. “I am the walking wounded.”
“Dating is not exactly what I want,” she said. “I want you, in a sexual way. In a big, want you bad kind of way.” She smiled. “More ‘91/2 Weeks’ than ‘Beauty and the Beast.’”
“Willow, you deserve someone who can give you something,” I told her. “As is abundantly clear, I have nothing to give anyone.”
“I haven’t had sex with a man for years,” she said slowly. “I haven’t wanted to. Since Tara and I broke up, she’s all I ever thought about.” She looked at me. “Until you.”
“I think this has more to do with getting back at Tara in some way than it does about me,” I told her honestly.
“And I think you fucked me because it would upset Buffy and Tara if they found out,” she countered. “And, to be really honest, biting me wasn’t about grabbing a snack. It’s sexual, and you know it. What we did didn’t start out innocently, on either side.”
“I’ve always fancied you,” I admitted. “Not that I ever thought it would amount to anything. Just attracted to your smell, the way you look, your charm.”
She bent her face close to mine. “You made me feel so good,” she said, her eyes fixed on my mouth.
I immediately got hard, just from the sound of her voice, the intensity of her gaze. “Ditto,” I said, aiming for blasé and failing miserably.
“Could we do it again?” she asked me. “Try it another way?”
“But that’s not really what you want,” I argued. “You want a companion, not a one night stand.”
She licked my ear gently, and then bit down hard on my earlobe. “You’re wrong,” she said, her tongue sliding down my neck.
I ran my hands down her sides, over the curves of her hips. “You don’t really want me,” I argued.
“I want you bad,” she said confidently. I hadn’t heard that tone since she was running the show over the summer.
“You deserve more than a quick, hard shag,” I told her.
“I think that what I need is a quick, hard shag,” she told me. She slipped her hands beneath the sheet, closing them around my erect cock. She smiled. I wanted her, just as much as she wanted me. I couldn’t deny it, not when she literally had the proof in her hands.
“There are a few conditions.” I didn’t want her to have any illusions about me.
“Name them,” she said, her hands sliding up and down on my hard length.
“No talking about it ever again, to anyone. Not even to each other.” I paused and bit my lip, trying not to react to the firm, even strokes she was giving me. ”This can’t screw up our friendship, or be used as revenge on anyone else. This is just shagging, nothing more or less, and just for tonight.” That’ll pretty much strip all the hearts and flowers off of it.
“Okay,” she said breathlessly. “Can we stop talking now?” She rolled on top of me and smiled down at me.
“You don’t want any foreplay, or kissing or-” She leaned over and kissed me as she slid down along my length. She was tight and so, so wet, her muscles clenched around my throbbing cock. She felt good, so fucking amazing, hitting just the right stride. I held tightly to her shoulder as I moved underneath her, moving in rhythm with her lithe twists of the hips. Her tongue was everywhere inside my mouth, licking and stroking and caressing. She broke away for tiny gasps of air, never fully breaking the kiss. I had never met a human with such exact breath control.
She pulled away and leaned back, adjusting the angle until it was unbearably intense. She took my hand and bit gently on my wrist. “Bite, yes, biting,” I managed, as I locked my hands on her hips and drove her down even faster on my cock. She bit harder and I moved faster, until she was moaning and whimpering and ripping down my chest with her nails and I was coming explosively, biting her hard on the forearm as I pumped uncontrollably inside her. I was totally blindsided by my orgasm, lost in pleasure.
I opened my eyes to see her looking down at me, totally still, looking very unhappy. “I’m fine,” she said as she rolled off of me. “Really, I don’t mind. We can just-“
I moved on top of her and slid back inside her, pumping away. She closed her eyes and threw her head back, writhing underneath me. “You like to bite, don’t you?” She nodded, her eyes firmly closed. “What else do you like?”
“Talking,” she whispered.
“Thought you didn’t want to talk,” I teased, as I slowed down my rhythm and moved in and out of her very slowly.
“Harder,” she said. “Harder, now.” She clenched her internal muscles around me, making me gasp.
I gripped her wrists in one hand and rubbed her clit with the other as I drove into her forcefully. “Is that what you want? Like that?” She started to fall apart, her color heightening, her pulse thundering. “You’re so damn amazing,” I told her. “You’re so beautiful, and sexy, and you make me feel fucking unbelievable.” She cried out and leaned forward, biting my shoulder. I dropped her wrists and held her closely as she came, losing control myself as she undulated around me. I sought out her mouth, and we gasped and moaned together as we kissed, immersed in one another.
We broke apart and lay there, panting. I rolled on my side and looked at her. “You really are amazing,” I told her.
“Really?” She was breathing hard still, and beautifully pink, her cheeks glowing. She rolled over to me, and rested her head on my shoulder.
“You seem so nice and innocent,” I told her, as I kissed her ear. “And you’re a total force of nature in bed.”
“You shouldn’t buy into stereotypes,” she said. “Nice girls can be bad in the bedroom, too.”
“I wouldn’t use the word bad, love,” I told her. “Very very good.”
She rolled on top of me. “You were okay,” she said, giving me a sisterly peck on the cheek.
What? “I was okay?” I said, taken aback.
Her eyes glittered merrily. “Yeah. I’m really glad we’re just going to be friends from now on. I’d hate to have to have more sex with you.”
“That’s not funny,” I said.
“Sure it is. You should see your face.” She kissed me on the end of the nose.
“You don‘t make fun of a man’s prowess,” I said. “It’s just not done.”
She looked down at me seriously. “You know you’re a wonderful lover,” she said softly. “What could I say that someone else hasn’t already said?”
“You’re the one I’m with, kitten,” I told her. “So your opinion would be the only one I care about right now.”
She leaned down and kissed me. I loved the taste of her mouth, the softness of her lips. “You’re even better than I thought you would be,” she said softly.
My body stirred at her touch. “I want you again,” I told her. We kissed more, and I could feel her desire for me rising as well.
Suddenly she pulled away. “Spike?” she said oddly. She wobbled and I caught her before she fell backwards.
“Willow!” I swore at myself. I was a stupid, stupid git.
Her eyes fluttered open and she smiled. “I’m a little dizzy,” she said. She looked clammy and pale.
“And I’m a selfish ass,” I told her. I pulled on a pair of sweatpants and pulled one of my black t-shirts over her head. I carried her down the hall to the kitchen.
“I’m okay,” she said weakly.
“No, you’re not,” I told her. “I bled you and then shagged you silly, twice over. Very considerate of me.”
I juggled a pitcher of juice and a glass in one hand as I sat down at the table with Willow in my lap. I poured a large glass. “Drink,” I told her.
“I don’t want to,” she said, pushing the glass away.
“Drink the sodding juice or I’ll take you to the hospital, Will. I’m not fucking around.”
She put her arm around my shoulders and I curled my arm around her waist as she drank the juice. I noticed that she had really nice legs, very long and white. She had polish on her toenails, green sparkles with little decals of flowers. She bent her head back and I caught a fresh whiff of her scent. She smelled stronger than usual, her flowery scent combined with a slight tang of sweat and the musk of sex. She polished off the glass and turned to me. She looked better, her cheeks tinged with pink and her eyes sparkling. “So, this whole one night stand thing,” I began.
“Mm hmm?” she said, as she kissed me gently on the neck.
“Can I have the whole night? You have any other plans?”
“I’d wanted to see Aurora Borealis at the coffeehouse,” she said. She looked at the clock. “But that started two hours ago.” She smiled at me. “We crashed out for three hours.”
“Xander had called and asked if I wanted to meet him at the Bronze,” I said. “It’s almost nine now. We could be fashionably late.”
“If we meet up with him we’ll have to put the sex thing under wraps,” she said.
“We may as well get used to that,” I pointed out. “We’ll be doing it from now on. Just acting like friends.”
She looked thoughtful. “Would you dance with me at the Bronze?”
“I’d love to dance with you, Will,” I told her. “And I’d like to buy you some dinner too.”
“We don’t have time if we’re going to meet Xander,” she pointed out.
“Then you’ll have to promise me that you’ll eat some appetizers and let me take you for a bite afterwards.”
She laughed. “No more biting, thanks.” I laughed too, realizing what I’d said.
“You liked it, didn’t you?”
“During, not after.” She winced. “The after part was definitely way too hurty.”
The phone rang and I leaned over precariously to answer it, avoiding dumping Willow on the floor. “Hey, Spike,” said Xander. “You want to meet up with Anya and I at the Bronze?”
“Yeah, Willow is here and we’d both like to come.” Willow snickered and I pinched her nose. “I’d like to take her to dinner though. Do you guys want to grab a bite to eat too?”
“Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Let me ask An.” I heard a brief exchange while they were talking amongst themselves and seized the opportunity to steal a quick kiss from Willow.
“How about Nikolos? It’s right by the Bronze and we can get in and out of there fast.”
“Greek food, pet?” I asked Willow. She nodded. “We’ll meet you in half an hour, Xander.”
“See you there,” he said.
Willow got up off my lap and wandered out of the room. “Where are you going?” I asked her.
“To get dressed,” she called over her shoulder.
“I could help,” I called after her. The sound of her laughter echoed down the hall. I smiled, enjoying her presence. I should feel guilty, I realized. I should be in misery: missing Tara, worrying about Buffy’s reaction to what I’d said to Richard, berating myself for taking advantage of Willow. Instead, I just felt good. Happy, even. My life had gotten really complicated, and much more interesting.
Willow walked out, fully dressed again. She’d brushed out her hair, and it was silky and shiny. Her clothes were straight and unwrinkled. She looked fresh as a daisy, not like someone who’d been tumbled less than twenty minutes ago. “Can I play Dress the Spike?” she asked, holding something behind her back.
“What?” I raised one eyebrow.
“Well, I dressed you last night for your date,” she said. “And, to be honest, I’d kind of wished that it was me. And this, tonight, this will be the closest thing to a date that we’ll have. So I was hoping you’d let me pick out your clothes.” She wrinkled her brow. “Is that stupid?”
I walked over to her and cupped her face, kissing her. I pulled away and smiled at her. “Tonight I’m yours,” I told her. “Do with me what you will.”
She handed me the clothes. My new suit pants, a black shirt with blue embroidered dragons, and a black t-shirt. “And the duster,” she said.
“Anya told me not to wear it last night,” I said.
“Well, I think it’s sexy,” she said with a smile. “By all means, wear the duster.”
“Red has a thing for leather,” I said with a smile.
“Not really,” she said. “It’s a pretty specific fetish. You. Leather. Duster. It’s a combo package.”
“I want to hear more about this later,” I told her.
“I’d really rather show you later,” she said. She kissed me, the feel of her lips making me hard and aching again. The girl had an amazing mouth. I melted the second her lips touched mine. I pulled her close, trying to deepen the embrace, but she pulled back. She reached out and trailed a nail down my neck, and I shuddered. “But now we have to get going.”
“You’re evil,” I pointed out. “Getting me started and leaving me hanging.”
“That’s me,” she said with a grin. “Evil Willow.”
“Who wants ouzo?” asked Anya. We sat at a booth in the Greek restaurant, underneath a large mural of the Parthenon.
“Not me,” I said. “I’ve had enough to drink for one day.”
“Never thought I’d hear you say that,” said Xander.
“Just three,” she said to the waiter, who nodded and walked away. “I actually figured that you’d be off somewhere drinking or trying to stake yourself, considering how Tara left,” said Anya.
“An!” said Xander angrily.
“She told me that it would be best if you never saw each other again, but I wish she’d taken some more time to think things through.” Anya broke off a piece of her baklava and ate it.
Xander cringed. Willow turned to stare at me. “She said what?” I asked.
“She said that she’d never felt her demon side before she started spending time with you, and if she never saw you again she would never release her demon. She wanted to pretend none of it had ever happened,” she said calmly. “Didn’t she tell you that in her note?”
I felt Willow’s hand slide across my leg and squeeze my fingers. I held onto her tightly, focusing on her warmth to distract med from the shock and pain of Anya’s words. “So,” Willow began, ”why don’t you tell us about the floral arrangements you decided on for the wedding?”
“Excuse me,” I said. I got up and went outside the restaurant. I lit a cigarette and pulled my collar up against the wind. She thought that I’d ruined her life. My mere presence had screwed up the life of a woman who was already having more than her fair share of suffering. I’d meant to save her from a life of toil and misery, and instead I’d managed to drive her away from everything and everyone that meant anything to her. First Buffy, then Tara. Maybe I should give up trying to save damsels in distress.
After I finished my smoke, I went back inside and sat down at the table. Willow was red in the face, wheezing. “Love, are you alright?” I asked her, concerned.
“Ouzo,” explained Anya.
“Gross,” squeaked out Willow. “Super gross.” She turned at me, her eyes tearing up. “It was like doing a shot of battery acid.” I poured her a glass of water and handed it to her, patting her lower back as she drank.
“So, anyway, I was explaining about the stephanotis,” explained Anya. “Our florist told me originally that it would have to be flown in from Argentina this time of year. But I found a wholesaler who has a source in Mexico.” She smiled widely. “I saved seventy five dollars.”
Xander smiled at his fiancée. “You’ve been doing a great job on this wedding planning, Anya.” He reached for the check.
I snagged it before he could take it. “It’s on me,” I said.
“You don’t have a job, Spike,” he said. “Let me take it.”
“I’ve got enough saved up to live here a good long time without doing a blasted thing,” I told him. “But I actually do have a job lined up. I’m supposed to start next week, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to do it.”
“Okay,” he said. “But drinks at the Bronze are on me.”
“Deal.” I pulled out some bills and paid the check.
“So what kind of a job were you offered?” asked Willow.
“A job as a bouncer at a demon club,” I said. “Not that many jobs that I can take.”
We walked outside and down the block. “What time are Richard and Buffy meeting us?” asked Anya.
“They said they would be there at ten,” Xander replied. “Unless Buffy got wrapped up with something on patrol. She was going to fit it in between bowling and the Bronze.”
Willow turned to me and handed me her bag. “Spike, I think that I left my bag at the restaurant. Will you go back with me to get it?” I held the purse behind my back.
“We’ll meet you there,” I told Xander and Anya. They walked off, his arm around her waist.
Willow grabbed my hand and pulled me down an alley. She turned to me. “Are you and Richard going to get along after your run in earlier?”
“I’m not worried about Richard,” I told her. “I’m more concerned about Buffy. We can’t get along for longer than five seconds these days. And she’s going to be furious that I told Richard.”
“She should have been the one to tell him,” Willow pointed out. “He’s her boyfriend. And she should have told us about you, way before that.”
“She never would have done that,” I explained. “She thinks you’ll all think worse of her, because of what I am. Because I’m evil.”
“You were evil,” Willow said. “I know that just as well as she does. But I can see that you’ve changed. I can see the good in you. Why can’t she?”
“Because she’s the Slayer,” I told her. “She’s supposed to think that way.” I took a deep breath. “I don’t want to talk about Buffy.”
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I thought we should take a minute because of-“
“Because it gave you an excuse to drag me into the alley,” I finished for her.
She blushed. “I wasn’t trying to-“
I cut her off with a kiss. She yielded to me, the sexual heat between us firing instantly. She slid her hands up under my shirt, caressing my chest as she kissed me passionately. I slipped my hands under her sweater and caressed the smooth flesh of her stomach.
“I want you,” I told her between kisses.
“I want you too, but we don’t have time,” she said, breaking away. “We don’t have anywhere to go.”
I pulled her down the alley and down a few steps that led to a basement. I reached my hands under her skirt and ripped off her panties. She giggled. “I could have just taken-“ I released my cock from my pants and shoved inside her. She wrapped her legs around my waist and held on tightly to my shoulders. I grabbed on tight to her ass as I thrust in and out of her.
“Tell me when,” I told her tightly. “I’m ready now. You get me so fucking hot, with your sweet smile and the way you smell and your tight little pussy, moving all around me,” I whispered in her ear. “I want to rip off your stupid little hat and sink my fangs into your neck right here, right now, while I fuck you against the wall.”
“Faster, faster, faster,” she said, as she shimmied up and down on me. I obliged, moving inside her until I just couldn’t hold on anymore. I bit down on her neck as I came, and she screamed, high and thin, as she followed along. We moved together, riding it out to the end. She turned and kissed me, enfolding my face in the brim of her hat.
We kissed for a few minutes, enjoying the feel of each other and the sweetness of the moment. “Witch,” I growled against her mouth. I wanted to grab on to the moment and make it last forever.
I pulled away and straightened my clothes while Willow did the same. I put my arm around her shoulders and held her close as we walked up the stairs and down the alley. “That was fun,” Willow said. She looked up at me and grinned. “That was the naughtiest sex thing that I’ve ever done in my entire life.”
“Really?” I laughed. “You have led a very sheltered life, my sweet.”
“Standing up, in the alley, with a vampire,” she said. She paused. “Sounds almost like something from Clue.”
“Lots more fun than Colonel Mustard with a pipe in the library,” I said with a chuckle. We rounded the corner and saw the bright lights and milling people in front of the Bronze. I took my arm back and we looked at each other.
“Showtime,” she said with a grin.
“Break a leg, pet,” I said, laughing. “Kiss for luck?” She pulled my mouth down to hers, and I sighed. She was so sweet, so damn sweet to touch. We kissed, lightly, and then she let me go. She traced her fingers along my cheekbone, and walked away without a backward glance. I watched with pleasure as she tottered along in her high-heeled boots, her long skirt swinging with the delicious sway of her hips.
Even on Sunday night, the Bronze was full of people. Not that there was much of a selection here in Sunnyhell. I followed Willow through the throng, finally spotting the table where the Scoobies lay in wait. Richard was holding a beer, telling an anecdote to Xander, Anya, and Buffy. “So I drop off Buffy and then go park the truck,” he said. “And I’m walking past the alley and I hear this woman scream. So I go to see what’s going on, and these two people are up against the wall, screwing like rabbits.”
Oh. Fuck. Willow turned to look at me, her eyes wide. I walked faster, trying to think of a way to get out of this one. Anya spied us and waved us over. “So they’re really going at it, and they’re totally lost to the world. And then they kiss, and all I can see is-“ I grab his arm and turn him around, spilling his beer. He looks at me and Willow and his eyes widen. “Her hat,” he whispers.
“All you can see is what?” Xander asks.
Richard looks in my eyes, and I can feel him thinking it through, weighing what to say. And then he looked over at Willow. She was staring at him, her brow furrowed.
“And it’s some guy that I went to high school with,” Richard says. “Can you believe that?”
“Some guy from Michigan was having sex in the alley?” Buffy asks. “That is really weird.” She paused. “It would have made more sense if it was someone you went to college with, since you went to Sunnydale.”
“Yeah, that would have made more sense,” he said lamely.
“Let me buy you another beer, Richard,” I said. “Didn’t mean to spill yours.” He followed me to the bar and we took our place in line. I turned to face him. “I know you don’t owe me any favors,” I told him. “But I would really appreciate it if you wouldn’t say anything to any of the Scoobies.”
“What the hell are you doing, man?” he asked. “Buffy told me that you went totally apeshit today and tried to kill yourself, and tonight you’re banging Willow in an alley?”
“It just happened,” I explained. “It was totally unexpected.”
“So this thing with her, it was just this one time.” He frowned.
“Well, no, actually, we were together earlier. But you know, I really shouldn’t talk about this. It makes it sound like something sordid, and it’s not.” I didn’t want him to think that I was just using Willow. “We really care about each other.”
“Were you with her when you and Tara were together?”
“No, no,” I told him. “Willow and I, we got together earlier tonight, first time.”
He seemed to believe me. “She came over after I left? Because you didn’t seem very upbeat then.”
“Yeah.” That was an understatement.
“You were pretty drunk and seemed miserable. I felt sorry for you myself.” He stopped and bit his lip.
I got his gist immediately. “You think this is all just a pity fuck?”
“I’m sure it’s not, Spike,” he reassured. “Maybe she really likes you, wants to date you.”
“She said that she didn’t,” I said out loud. She’d made it very clear, in fact, that sex was what she wanted, nothing more.
“Spike, man. I’m sorry.” He looked genuinely repentant. “I shouldn’t have said anything, it really isn’t any of my business anyway.”
“Quite alright. Truth hurts, that’s all.” We stood up in front of the bar and I bought us beers. I handed one to Richard and took a healthy swig of mine.
“Yeah, the truth does hurt.” He sipped at his beer and looked at me. “I asked Buffy about what you’d told me, and she said that it was true.”
“I’m surprised she admitted it,” I told him.
“She didn’t tell me the truth at first,” he said. “I don’t think that telling the truth is something that she’s used to any more. But she did explain it all to me, finally, and I think I understand now why she did it. And because I understand, I can forgive her and help her move on.”
“What did she say to you?” I asked curiously.
“That’s really private,” he said. “Something that the two of us are going to have to deal with together. But what she did tell me, that you should know, is that she loved you. She did.”
“Thank you,” I told him.
“If I can forgive her, maybe you can too. And maybe you can both stop hurting each other, and paying penance for things that weren’t your fault.” He patted me on the back and walked away.
Penance. I hadn’t heard the word in decades. It made me think of my mother, on her knees, praying to a God that neither knew nor cared, only stripped away everything she had ever loved. What did penance have to do with me, or Buffy?
A warm hand slid across the back of my neck. I turned my head to see Willow, smiling up at me. “Crisis averted?” she asked.
“Have no fear, sweetheart. Your little acts of kindness will never be revealed.” I turned my back on her and drank my beer.
She stepped in front of me, her brow knitted. “What are you talking about?”
“No need to play games, pet.” I smiled at her. “It was quite a sacrifice you made, being with someone like me.”
“That isn’t true,” she said, shocked. I turned and walked away, fed up with women, fed up with lies. She grabbed my wrist and turned me around. “Why are you acting like this?”
“Just leave me alone. I don’t need any more of your pity,” I spat out.
Her nails dug into the flesh of my wrist. “You think that I slept with you because I felt sorry for you?”
My anger splintered away, leaving only humiliation. “Why the hell else would you, Will?”
“Because I think you’re gorgeous,” she said. “Because you make me feel good, you make me feel whole. When I’m with you, I don’t feel so pathetic.”
“I don’t think you’re pathetic, Willow. I think you’re incredible.” I smiled at her. “In every way.” She looked up at me, clearly not believing me. I shook her hold off my wrist and closed my hand around hers. “I’m sorry for what I said. I’m feeling a bit raw at the moment.”
“You have issues,” she said, giving me a weak smile. “You have serious emotional issues.”
“So do you,” I countered. “So do all of our friends. We should all chip in for therapy, get a group rate.” She smiled and I led her out to the dance floor, finding a dark corner in the shadows. It was a slow song, and I pulled her into my arms, holding her close. We moved together for several minutes, until the tension had left. “Do you hate me now?” I asked her.
She was quiet for a long moment. “No, that would not describe the emotion that I am feeling.” She looked up, and her eyes were full of desire.
“I thought I’d pretty much stifled any thoughts you had in that direction since my little outburst,” I said.
“My brain and my sex drive are currently operating independently,” she said. “And my body is throwing a tickertape parade celebrating the end of celibacy.” She ran her hand over my stomach. “Being pressed against these abs isn’t really helping.”
“You like my body?” I asked her, as I leaned over and kissed her ear.
“I fucking love your body,” she said softly.
“I want to fuck you with this body, love.” I smiled down at her and she laughed.
“I wish you would kiss me,” she said.
“Aren’t you afraid of getting caught?” I asked, pulling her closer to me.
“I’m not ashamed of you,” she said, looking into my eyes. “I don’t care what anyone thinks. I would be proud if people thought we were together.” I bent my head down, and kissed her lips. She held tightly to the back of my neck and kissed me adamantly, holding nothing back. There was no fear, no guilt, no hesitation. Just passion.
“Willow?” said a shocked voice. We stiffened, preparing for the wrath of Scoobykind. We turned and I looked at two completely unfamiliar faces. A tall redhead stood next to a shorter man with a heavy beard and a very sour expression.
“Mom? Dad?” Willow said, her face stricken. “What are you doing here?”
“We came with the Harrises,” Mrs. Rosenberg explained. “We were going out to dinner together when they received an emergency call from the hall where the wedding was going to be. They came to give Xander and his fiancée the bad news.”
“What bad news?” I asked.
“It burned down tonight,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “It’s a real shonda.” He picked up on my expression. “A tragedy,” he translated. “Of course you don’t understand Yiddish.”
“I speak a little German,” I said helpfully.
“You’re German?” he said, obviously not pleased.
“I’m English, actually,” I corrected.
“And you’re not Jewish, I’m guessing?” he said.
“I’m an agnostic,” I supplied. He looked very unimpressed.
Willow looked at me. “Well, Mom, Dad, it’s great to see you, but we should go talk to Xander and Anya, see what we can do,” she said. She took my hand and turned away.
“Not so fast,” her father said. She winced. “Next week is Pesach,” he said. “We’ll expect you and your little Gentile boyfriend to come for the seder Wednesday night.”
“It’s not what you think, Dad,” she said lamely.
“If it’s not what I think, than it’s the other thing I could think, and then your friend here is going to get a nice fist in the face,” he said seriously.
Getting my ass kicked by Willow’s father on the dance floor didn’t sound like fun. “We’ll be there,” I said, and held out my hand. He made a noise and turned away.
“Have fun, kids,” Mrs. Rosenberg said brightly, and she followed her husband out.
“Well, they seem nice,” I said.
"You didn't have to do that," Willow said. "You didn't have to pretend for them. I know you want no strings or commitments."
"I don't mind, really," I told her. "It was kind of fun to play the bad boyfriend. Never had a chance to do it before." She smiled wanly. I lifted her chin and kissed her. She relaxed under my hands, until she was happy again. I hugged her tightly. “Let’s go deal with the latest drama." I gave her a peck on the forehead and we walked back to join the Scoobies.
Anya was crying hysterically, while Buffy was trying to comfort her. Xander argued angrily with his father while Richard hovered behind him. “I told you the Moose Lodge was falling apart,” Xander yelled. “I told you the place was a firetrap.”
“It was the cheapest thing I could find,” yelled his father. “You and your little orphan are bleeding me dry.”
Willow ran over. “Hi, Mr. Harris,” she said brightly. “I just saw Mom and Dad and they’re waiting for you outside.”
He turned to look at her. “Hey there, Carrots.” He pinched her cheek, hard, and she winced. “Still as freckled as ever, I see.”
She smiled painfully. “Yeah, same old freckly Carrots.”
Mr. Harris turned back to his son. “So you can just take it like a man and figure something out. We’ve done our part. You just need to get off your ass and be resourceful for once.” He turned around and left, pulling his wife behind him.
Xander turned and punched the wall. “It’ll be all right,” Willow said. “We’ll figure something else out.”
Xander looked like he was about to cry. “The wedding is in less than a week. We can’t find anything on such short notice and we don’t have any money to pay for it.”
“Don’t worry, Xan,” Buffy said reassuringly. “We’ll take care of it.”
“We could pitch a tent in a park, I know the permit guy. Or I could ask about the parish hall at my church,” Richard suggested.
“I’m on Spring Break for the next two weeks, “ said Willow. “I can call all the guests. I can help coordinate with the caterer and everything. I’ll help do whatever you need.”
“And I have money,” I offered. “I’ll fill in the gaps, cover whatever you need. It’ll be my wedding gift.”
Anya looked up, her face red and puffy. “You’d do that for us?”
“Of course we would,” Buffy said. “We all want you to have a nice wedding.” She looked over at me.
“We did deal with the Apocalypse, we can handle a wedding,” I said.
“More than one Apocalypse, even,” Willow pointed out.
Xander kissed his fiancée and wiped away her tears. “They’re right, An. There’s nothing we can’t do, if we stick together.”
She nodded. “You’re right, I know you’re right.“ She blew her nose. “Let’s just have a good time tonight, and we’ll deal with all of this in the morning,” she said.
“That’s the spirit,” said Buffy.
“Well, I’m up for a round of drinks,” said Xander. He asked what we wanted and then went off to the bar.
“Would you do me the honor?” Richard asked Anya. He held out his hand to her. She smiled and followed him to the dance floor.
Willow and I sat down at the table across from Buffy. “He is a real sweetie,” Buffy said with a smile.
“You’re lucky he didn’t dump you on your ass,” said Willow. Buffy turned to her, surprised. “I know about Spike,” she said. “The whole thing.”
Buffy whipped around to face me. “You told her?”
“Guilty.” I gave her a wolfish grin.
She narrowed her eyes. “You’re sure having a banner day of running your mouth.”
“Doesn’t it feel good to be telling the truth, instead of lying?” I asked her.
She closed her mouth. “It felt good to get everything out in the open with Richard,” she said. “He really cares about me and now I know just how much.”
“It hurts to lie,” said Willow softly. “Hiding things from the people that you love.” I looked at her, and saw a shadow in her eyes. I slid my hand under the table and held her hand. She looked into my eyes. I’d done to her what Buffy had done to me, I realized. Taken the power out of her hands. Told her not to tell anyone, that it was just a one night stand. Made her think that what we had didn’t mean anything. She deserved better than that. She was my friend.
“Truth hurts, Slayer,” I told her. “Some truths sting a bit more than others.”
“What are you talking about, Spike?”
“I’m dating Willow,” I told her. “I’m over you, and I wish you and Richard the best of luck. It would be a lot easier for all of us if you could say the same.” Willow turned to me, her face lighting up with a smile.
“I thought you wanted to be with Tara,” she said.
“Tara left me,” I pointed out. “She didn’t seem to be that concerned with what I wanted.”
She turned to Willow. “Why would you want to date Spike?”
Willow looked her straight in the eyes. “I think you know why,” she said. “You’ve known him as long as I have.”
“But the two of you together,” said Buffy, horrified. “That’s just wrong.”
“Two wrongs make a right, this time,” said Willow. She leaned over and kissed Buffy. “I hope you can wish us well. I know, deep down inside, you want what’s best for us.” She stood up from the table. “And now, I want to dance with Spike.” She took my hands and we went out to the dance floor, close to the stage. We held each other, and swayed to the music. She smiled up at me, and kissed me under the bright lights, surrounded by the crowd, where anyone could see.
Continued in Chapter 10