There was no answer. This didn’t necessarily prove anything, pro or con, but it was hopeful. She stepped into the apartment and looked around. Spike followed after her. “I just have to make a phone call.”
“Okay,” Spike said. He wandered into the living room and looked around, but there wasn’t much to catch his eye; the apartment had come pre-furnished, and nothing had yet been salvaged from the wreckage to give the place any individuality. He kicked off his flip flops and padded down the hallway in his bare feet. Two bedrooms, with one large bath between them. He could just see Buffy in that bathtub, and he swallowed and closed his eyes. She could see his emotions now, the same way he could see hers, and it wasn’t as if he’d been that good at concealing them as a vampire. The thought left him feeling sick. It wasn’t that bothersome when it was just Buffy. He didn’t want anybody else seeing what a twit he was capable of being.
Buffy seemed to regard his new humanity as a gift, but he wasn’t so sure. No more super strength; no more Spike. He’d taunted Riley with it once, but that had been before all the deaths that had changed her so much. Being one of just many Slayers appeared to have been the right decision in more ways than one. About himself, he simply wasn’t so sure.
He didn’t hear her till she was right behind him. Something else lost, he thought. “Hey.” She slid her arms around his waist, and it went straight through him. He turned, and they were kissing by the next breath. He pulled back and looked down at her. “God, you’re beautiful.”
“So are you,” she whispered. She rubbed her face on the front of his sweatshirt. “Even in this.”
The sexual encounter at the hospital hung over them, leaving both tongue-tied with possibilities and inertia. His vision was back to being William-bad, but his skin seemed extra sensitive, picking up the sensation of her erect nipples pressed against him---and her ribs. A hundred years with an insane woman made him bite his tongue about her thinness, but he plotted a feast sometime in her future. He tried to find his snark, but it evaporated, looking down at her face. “God, I missed looking at you. You’ve got a face like water,” he breathed. “Did I ever tell you that? It’s like quicksilver….” He traced the curve of her face with his fingertips, as if more contact would burn him.
“You didn’t tell me that,” she whispered. “You did tell me you were a bad poet, though. Obviously a big lie.” She buried her face in his chest again. “I missed sleeping with you. We never did that except for the last two nights.” She looked up at him. “I thought of all the time I wasted, when we could have been like that. I woke up and I…looked at you,” and then she had to kiss him. “And touch you.” Another kiss, deepening into open-mouthed exploration, sent his blood rushing through his veins and made him rethink the whole human body thing. “It was nice.”
“Not as nice as this,” he muttered. He turned and pressed her into the wall, as much exploring his new body as hers. The sensations were so different that it might have been the first time entirely, and he conceded fuzzily that this wasn’t all bad. He got his thigh between her legs, and she shifted eagerly, arching her throat back for him to kiss, even while she hitched against him. With a gasp, she found exactly the right angle, and he instinctively grabbed her thigh and thrust against her.
He’d always loved watching her face as they had sex, even though she still tried to stay in control then, too. A lot of the time it had simply been too much for her, and he’d cherished those moments, when pleasure or something else had made her drop her barriers, and he could imagine that she was looking as deep into him as he was into her. Sometimes she’d be limp and pliable afterward, silent but relaxed, and he’d seen glimpses, then, of what it could be like with her. Only glimpses, stolen snippets, flashes. Now she looked right into his eyes and let herself go, grabbing the nape of his neck, pressing her forehead to his, so that he could take her gasps into his mouth, into his body. He was so close himself that he shook with it, and when she kissed him, she felt him shaking, her lips curving into a smile as she nibbled at his mouth.
She was rubbery-legged when he let her go, bones turned to noodles as she backed into the room, leading him with her hands and her kisses. He doffed the sweatshirt as they went, and she sat down abruptly on the bed, staring. “What?”
“I’ve never seen you in sunlight,” she said simply.
The reality of it washed over him along with the sunlight, and they just looked at each other for a long, long time. Then he went to the window and pulled the curtains open, yanking the blinds up. It didn’t matter that the sight that greeted him was the freeway; what mattered was that she was staring at him, and he wanted to really see her. He turned his back to the window and dropped the sweats. “I saw you before, in daylight.”
“With the Gem of--?”
“No, other times. I’d find the right place, the right angle, and I could see you and be safe. Golden girl, that’s what you were.”
“Now you can join me,” she said, but her tone was uncertain.
He spread his hands in the light, and she found herself looking at him, golden in the light from the room. His hair was growing out, and the roots glowed golden. Even his pubic hair had a shimmer to it. “It was really hard, though.”
“Doing that. Watching. Taking the opportunity. Not a lot of chances. Had to avoid certain people----“
She stood up and tossed her top off, but he grabbed her hands. He unhooked her bra, throwing it aside, smoothing his hands over her back and then her breasts before sliding to her jeans. She steadied herself by holding onto his shoulders as he unbuttoned them and slid them down, but had to smile when he realized he’d forgotten to take off her shoes first. “Oh, bugger.”
This produced another, larger smile. On another woman, he’d have labeled it an outright grin, but he hadn’t seen his Slayer smile like that, big and happy and giddy, in years. She sat down on the bed, and stuck one foot up in the air at him, and he yanked off the shoe, sighing. Bare-footed, she tickled his stomach, then paused, looking at him, hooking her foot to his hip, pulling him closer. “God, I never really looked at you, that whole time.”
He picked up her other foot, forcing her lie back. “I noticed.” He pulled the shoe off, looking down at her foot, then leaned over, pulling her jeans down her legs. “Sometimes you did, though. Accidentally.” Triumphantly, he discarded the jeans, and swallowed hard. Time was, as a proper young man, he’d have killed to see a girl like this---clad only in her knickers, hair all mussed up, lips swollen, and pretty pink nipples. Now, reality and unreality seemed to be hitting him with alternate blows. No need to hide, not from her friends, not from the sun. No need to keep certain hours, certain limitations. For that, he’d traded immortality and strength. Buffy chose that moment to stroke his burgeoning erection with the tips of her toes, and he thought, Not a bad trade at all.
“How could you love somebody that---that---“ Spike crawled onto the bed next to her and propped himself up on one elbow, making encouraging motions with his other hand. “You’re not going to stop me, are you?”
He dropped his head to her shoulder and her hands were drawn, as always, to his hair. “Not a chance,” he drawled. But her touch ended any thinking he was capable of doing. She pulled him closer and he eased onto her body, his blood flaring with awareness. She reached up for a kiss and he stretched into it, wanting to dive into her, pulse pounding suddenly everywhere. His hands were urgent, trying to touch her everywhere at once, and she responded with little noises and motions, her own hands sliding all over him, too busy to keep track of. That was fast. She was pulling and tugging at him, and he wriggled agreeably, not even aware of the way they were shifting and moving, not until he felt fabric and pulled back from her mouth. He dropped his forehead to hers, shuddering with the force of his own blood. Buffy tipped an impudent look at him, and gave him a siren’s smile, then reached down for his cock, already hard, almost painful. “Oh, God, don’t do that,” he breathed.
“You don’t--? I’ll---Oh, God,” he muttered. She wriggled under him, pulling her panties off, and suddenly he was rubbing against not fabric—which in his condition might just as well have been sandpaper----but against her smooth flesh, wet and inviting. His heart stopped, and then he sagged over onto his back, his erection bobbing, and Buffy stared at him in shock. One moment he’s here, the next minute…what happened?
“Spike…” Her thumb naturally found the ridge around the head of his cock and his eyes simply went blank at the sensation of her hand closing around him.
“Stop. I can’t take that.”
He grabbed her wrist, and she frowned at him. “You seem to think you shouldn’t,” she said dryly. “That’s kind of what I have the problem with.”
“I won’t last, I know it, I’ll---“
“That’s fine,” she said impatiently. “You think it’s not?”
“I don’t want to be,” Oh, God, he thought, I can’t even talk like myself any more, listen to me wibbling, “the sort of git who goes off at the drop of a hat and---“
She bit her lip, but she was smiling. “You told me you were a virgin.”
“My point exactly.”
“My point exactly.”
“It won’t be any good.”
Now she was the one propped up on her side next to him. “It’s not about that, Spike.” She glanced down, her lower lip trembling just the tiniest bit. “You know, even before? It wasn’t about that.” She laid her head on his chest, her hand smoothing over his taut stomach, but staying clear of any erogenous zones. “It was this,” she whispered. “Even then. Not, you know—orgasms. That was just…what I told myself. But it was this…I almost convinced myself, too. But---no. That’s just a---“she smiled suddenly. “Side effect.”
He reached up for her face. “Not even the slightest bit?”
“If it were sex, it would be. That’s different. This is different.”
The kiss was tentative, as was his smile. “Are we different?”
“Everything is,” she said. “Everything is.”
There was that sensation again, the weird contrast between the old world, experienced afresh. Why did her hands on his cock make him shake so bad, when all that had changed were a few revved-up internal organs? So his heart beat now, so his blood was his own. He felt like he’d never seen her before, the way she bit her lip as he slid on top on her, the way it was entirely new and electrifying, the way the head of his cock just found itself pressing into her pussy.
What was new, too, was the effort. His heart was pounding so loud he could hear it, but it seemed to stop as he pushed inside her and she seemed to clutch all around him. It wasn’t just tight, it was like being gripped in a wet, hot fist, and he could feel pinpricks of sweat break out all over himself. Breathing became something he’d read about somewhere. He shoved forward again, and he was as far inside her as he could get, but none of that mattered because her hands were pulling him closer and harder against her. . And then her hips lifted and every molecule on his cock screamed and he was pressing his forehead to hers, his own hips pulling back, his back arching with pleasure. He remembered to breathe, then, finally, but that wasn’t important, because it interfered with kissing, and kissing was crucial to his existence. Oh, God, the rhythm of it all, the way she moved with him and against him and around him, her mouth meeting his with a groan at the top of every stroke, kissing and sucking at his throat as he receded with an arch.
He managed to find a tempo, slowing down to a pace that made the bed creak in waves beneath them, but she spoiled it, smiling at him between little gasps and little kisses. “You--liar.”
“Bad—poet—and—I’m---never---ah,” she breathed, but he was laughing, and it was making his body hit all kinds of new places. “Oh…” Caught between humor and shock, pure instinct took over, and she clutched at him. Whether it was to make him stop or make him keep him going he wasn’t sure, but she bit his shoulder as everything tightened inside her and then shattered. She was convulsing all around him, and he surrendered to what seemed like a tidal wave. It went on forever, rolling from the tips of his toes to the top of his head, and he came back to find himself slowly blinking away the white spots in front of his eyes while his heart pounded in his own ears. She was blinking up at him, her lips parted, and he felt like someone had wrung out his spine like a dishrag. Aftershocks kept his hips moving, slowing bit by bit, and she cupped his bum in her hands, feeling the muscles flex and relax as the impulses faded away. Slowly, slowly, he crumpled on top of her, breath and heart returning to normal. There was no force to their kisses, they were so soft, brushing and breathing, trying to paint each other face’s with kisses, flushed, sweaty, shaking.
His brain cells began to work, and he realized it couldn’t be pleasant for her, with his dead weight on top of him. Shifting required slowly separating himself from her body, and he was oddly reluctant to do that. So was she, clutching at his arms as he pulled away. He felt like he’d just participated in some masochistic athletic event. She moved with him as he slid to her side, turning so she could wrap one leg around his waist, wriggling close. He couldn’t take his eyes off her, and she was evidently having the same problem, till finally the smile on her face became wider than was polite and she rolled over on her back, flung her arms out on the bed, and sighed out loud.
“What?” He demanded.
“What did I say?”
“Uh…What did you say, pet?”
This got him a sideaways glance. “I don’t remember either.” She rubbed her face with both hands. “But it was something about you being insecure or something---and, you know, you were wrong, did you notice?----and, oh, well, I was right. About whatever it was that I was making a point about.”
“I wish I could remember exactly, too. It was---“ She shoved him onto his back and dragged herself over him with an unselfconsciousness that startled him. “It was pretty good.”
There was something hypnotic about her skin, he noticed. Funny, the way it was striking him now. All the things he’d been denied before. He traced a path up and down her arm with his free hand, not sure how the other hand wound up laced through her hair, except that it seemed to belong there. She nuzzled his chest, trying to burrow into his skn, and he wondered if all the other barriers that waited for them could be conquered with good humor and her faith in him. Her fingers circled a monotonous track on his chest, and he found that he simply didn’t care. “This is pretty good,” he whispered sleepily.
“Better than good. What did I tell you?”
“I’m going to have to take notes from now on, aren’t I?”
She sighed, and she was asleep. Drifting away on a tide of even breathing and warm skin, he suddenly saw a future so full of moments and minutes like the one he was in that he wouldn’t have to hoard them. He’d have full days and nights of her, and he’d have to pick and choose the moments he savored, because there’d be so many. Not for him the lonely shadows, not any more. Just the thought was exhausting. He fell asleep with his lips pressed against her forehead.
Continued in Chapter 9