By Lara Dean-Brierley
SUMMARY: A visit in the darkness, the surrender of sight, the gift of a lie. Buffy/Spike, twisted as always.
SPOILERS: Takes place sometime after "Grave."
RATING: NC-17 for sex on the border of needing warnings, so if you're squeamish, avoid.
ARCHIVING: Ask, and it shall be granted.
FEEDBACK: Do silkworms like mulberry? (That means yes.)
DISCLAIMER: Characters borrowed from Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy/UPN. I'd return them in mint condition 'cept they were already broken.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Inspired by Edward Hirsch's lovely poem of the same title. But I won't bore you with it here, and you certainly don't have to have read it to make sense of this vignette. (Still, if you want to....)
And another round of applause for Sofia Neto, my lovely beta reader, who just plain rocks. I owe her lots of chocolate, and even more thanks.
Do you trust me? he'd asked just heartbeats ago, and now he was balanced on some brink, waiting.
"Yes," she said unsteadily.
He sought reassurance in her gaze before he moved behind her.
A vivid memory slashed through her thoughts: gasping against his neck, yes, then screaming into the pillow, yes, oh God, yes, and now she had whispered it in response to his quiet question. They were reduced to echoes of themselves, both of them.
He folded his own personal night, wrapped it over her eyes. His hands pulled the knot closed at the back of her head and then fell away, leaving her without any means of orientation save his voice: "Fit right, love?" His breath grazed her ear: he was a finger's breadth away from her, but no body heat betrayed him, of course. It didn't matter. She was already burning up from need.
She nodded. It was too tight, actually, but she was afraid that any hesitation would bring everything crashing down to a halt, as though only momentum had let her agree to this.
She wanted to gauge his expression and make sure he believed her. But he had to, didn't he? If he had tied the scarf over her eyes? If his hands had lingered in her hair after tightening the knot? If he was circling an arm around her waist and guiding her steps in the direction her decision was taking them? He had to believe her lie.
Even now, she shivered at the touch of the palm curved along her hip. Both anticipation and fear. She envied sleepwalkers, who needed no one to hold them and lead them, and who made their own ways, unseeing, unfaltering, to their destinations.
He stopped her from moving forward any farther; the tightening pressure made her tense in turn. Then he took her hand and laid it on a soft surface that bunched between her spread fingers: the bed. When he released her, she crawled onto it.
She wished this had been choreographed. No dancer's grace in her movements, certainly, as she shifted from one awkward position to another: all fours, knees tucked under her, lying on her side, then finally on her back, spread-eagled.
She resisted the lure of silk against her fingertips and kept her arms flung out, waiting. The textures to come would far exceed that of the scarf covering her vision. She wouldn't rip it off, wouldn't, because she had the strength to get through this, she was strong, she was the Slayer, and strength meant keeping power in check as much as unleashing it, the way she had unleashed it that night--
--that night he had almost forced her--
--that night he had left.
Both the things he had done had scarred her, but for a long while she hadn't noticed. There had been other hurts to mend, and she had done such a good job of it that she had thought she was healed. But then he'd come back, and she'd realized how much they'd both been wounded by that encounter. One way to fix things, now.
He had tried to find his own solution. A soul. He had one now, he had told her. She had trouble shaping her mind around that idea. She should be able to sense it somehow: a bright aura surrounding him, or a badge declaring him ensouled. Which was ridiculous. There was no way to tell, because she couldn't see it.
He wanted to prove it to her. He would never hurt her again, he promised, even if she were rendered completely vulnerable. And then he asked for the chance, so that he could refuse it:
Do you trust me?
Silk spilling from his hands and trailing to the floor.
Had that been her own voice, so tremulous, even as she made herself look directly in his eyes to give the appearance of conviction?
His weight settled on one side of the bed, and it was like the world hollowing itself around him so that she would slide toward him. Then he leaned over her and lifted one of her hands. His fingers closed over her wrist, followed by the coolness of metal.
Its chill froze her mind at a single thought. Did she really want to go through with this?
An utterly different question from the one he had posed, and this time the answer was a rawly honest yes. This was the only way she could stand for him to touch her again.
Steel snapped over her other wrist, and only as she released her breath did she realize she had been holding it. Now that it was done, it seemed less momentous. It was the scarf that still made her the most uneasy.
She was no stranger to the darkness. Their sex was an inhabitant of shadows, as likely to flare into oblivion under light as he was. But even after nightfall there had always been telltale gleams on the moonlight paleness of his skin, candleglow caught brightly in his hair. His body was too beautiful to be fully hidden, whether by clothes or by shade.
She still wanted him. She wanted to devour his mouth, she wanted to hear his coarse endearments. She wanted to lick her way down his chest and feel every muscle in his body ripple. But desire was interrupted by the memory of how he had pinned her against the side of the tub, his hands insistent on her face, the shower curtains tearing loose....
Without cuffs to hold her, she would lash out and flee from him. Or not from him, but from the heaviness of his body settling over hers, and the hardness of his kisses. If that was what he meant to bestow, for she thought that he might have come back to kill her.
He hadn't killed his previous two Slayers while they were helpless, but he'd loved neither of them. It was the rush of the fight he'd savored, the earned victory. With her, he would want nothing more than vengeance.
Oh, he might fuck her once before she died.
The scarf was long; he could wrap it around her neck--Fit right, love?--and again she wouldn't be able to tell him it was too tight, for her last breath would already have been drawn and released. Or he might prefer her throat bare, so that he could drink from there. If he wanted her skin marred by more than two punctures, his fists would do. Enough shattered bone and battered flesh would kill her.
She knew insanity: she had descended into it through the path of a demon's poison. But it seemed like something she could reach on her own, now. What else was it but madness to give herself to him like this?
--with his mouth suddenly pulling on her breast, wet and hungry, making her stretch her body upward and her hands strain at their bonds. Nothing to see through the shroud over her eyes, and it made each sensation unexpected, more intense. The velvet of his tongue, the sharpness of the cuffs. The soft sucking sounds he made and the dry rustling of cloth.
She wished he'd gagged her, but no need, he'd told her, and she didn't know whether that was because no one would be in earshot of her dying screams or because he wanted to hear her voice her pleasure. And now as she felt him move to her other breast, she mused that he could bite her there as easily as elsewhere, and pleas for him to stop warred with those for him never to. In the end she only formed his name, raggedly.
His fingertip circled her navel, then descended. Paused. Slid into her without resistance. He added another finger when the pattern of her breathing broke for a moment, giving way to a moan. She raised her hips, but he pushed them back down, and she couldn't shove his hands away because her own were trapped above her head.
His thumb rubbed against her and she began to pant in time with his strokes. She could feel it building-- He stopped and she protested, her voice rising to an insistent note. He silenced her with a bruising kiss, one she would have deepened if only she could have framed his face with her hands and pulled him closer.
Then his lips, too, vanished. "Spike...?" Her voice was broken by an overburden of desire. She struggled to sense something, anything at all, besides the sweaty sheets. There was only the unyielding steel that captured her wrists, and the folded silk over her eyes. The next thing she felt might be her death-blow.
But then he moved up from the bottom of the bed, and his hands pushed her legs wider apart. He took a long taste that banished coherent thought from her mind, and jumbles of words flew from her mouth, punctuated by gasps. "Yes, there, Spike, don't stop, please, God, oh...." There was only the swelling rise, spiraling higher with every caress of his tongue, higher, higher--
Then the dizzying, languorous fall and a distant voice crying out. The world gradually returned in pieces. She thought he might have said something, but she only caught his last murmur of "...love."
The bed shifted, and she knew he was arranging himself above her. Inexplicably she wanted even more, all of him this time. She hooked her leg around his to pull him down. He laughed and pressed himself between her thighs, entering her as deeply as he could.
His face had always held an expression of fragile pleasure, but she was blind.
Then he was thrusting into her, filling her body with his own, filling her mind with dark memories.
You're going to let me inside you....I'll make you feel it....
She discovered she was sobbing; tears blocked her throat. She tried to buck him off, but he had understood her the first time, even garbled, and withdrew. The bed unbowed.
"Stop it, stop, stop...."
"I've stopped, Buffy," he said, and his voice came from off to one side.
She curled up, high on the bed because she was still in the handcuffs. She rubbed her forehead against her arms, trying to slide off the blindfold, but it was too tight. Her tears soaked through it.
"I need to get those off," he said, his words far too measured and even. "Can I touch you?"
She nodded, and it became a compulsive movement, jerking her head up and down a half a dozen times more than needed.
Just like when he had put them on, he held her wrists steady. A click. Another. Then the handcuffs opened and she brought her arms down and cradled her wrists to her chest. She wasn't sure if she could manage to move her fingers, but he said, "Turn your head," and when she did, he untied the knot and lowered the scarf from her eyes for her.
The candles had gutted out. Blackness greeted her, no different than from before. Through her other senses she knew that he took the scarf up and then cast it over the side of the bed, but she missed the sight of it drifting to the floor. She imagined that unhurried fall of silk and felt herself calming with the same deliberate slowness.
She sat up. "Thank you," she said to him, and she shaped his shoulder under her palm, to see if she could.
"I'm sorry." There was quiet desperation behind the simple apology. His thumb eased a tear away from her eye and she did not flinch. "Will you believe me?"
She raised her face to meet his gaze. There were echoes everywhere; she gathered one to her and gave it breath. Her voice was soft, gentle, unwilling to disturb the settling shadows. "Yes," she said, and even in the dark she could see him.