All About Spike

Something Alive
By opalescence

RATING: R

SETTING: Between 'Get it Done' and 'Lies My Parents Told Me'

SPOILERS: Through 'Get it Done'

DISCLAIMER: All characters are from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and are the creation of Joss Whedon and property of Mutant Enemy. I do not own these characters; I'm just borrowing them.

FEEDBACK: Most definitely! cindi.dickey@verizon.net



"I've always envisioned [Spike] giving Buffy a garden that he could never go to in the daytime, to give her something alive for a change."

-James Marsters
The New York Times
January 12, 2003

**********

She shivered suddenly and knew he was watching her. Without removing her eyes from the backyard, Buffy slid over on the new porch swing. She smiled, knowingly, as the door gently opened and closed, an acceptance of her silent invitation.

Behind her, a flame was born in the stillness of the night, and the early spring breeze carried the comforting scent of newly-lit tobacco to her; a tether between them. She heard hesitant footsteps, the crinkle of leather and then a sigh. Her eyes closed momentarily as he joined her, their strong arms now pressed companionably together.

"How can I ever thank you for the most wonderful gift anyone has ever given me?" Buffy asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

"S'like I told you before, love. The expression on your face was enough thanks for me."

Buffy inhaled deeply. The smell of freshly-dug earth had been a part of her life for the past seven years...fledgling vamps rising from it...her mom's grave...clawing her way out of her own...burying Chloe.

But there was something unique and comforting about the scent of the newly-tilled soil in her own backyard on this particular night. It made her want to kneel down and joyously grab handfuls of the earth, letting it crumble and fall from her fingers. It was her own land, where she had worked alongside her mom years ago, planting rose bushes and tomato plants.

It was a gift of life among all the death of late...and the death to come.

When had they started swinging? Buffy leaned forward and looked down at the four boot-clad feet in front of her and laughed. She looked up at Spike and grinned. He glanced at her sideways and then rolled his eyes, self-consciously.

"Well, s'what you're supposed to do on one of these contraptions, right?"

She nodded and sat back again, her eyes drawn back to the entrance of her brand new garden.

"It's really beautiful, Spike."

She felt Spike turn to look at her, his eyes appraising her profile. "S'what I'd call stunning."

A flush filled her cheeks, but she pretended to ignore the compliment. Buffy grabbed his leather sleeve and tugged playfully, standing.

"I'm ready now...to see it with you. I really wish you hadn't let the others show it to me without you this afternoon. Please? Show me?"

Spike regarded her for moment, took one last puff of his smoke and carefully ground its remnants in an ashtray, allowing her to pull him to a stand.

"Come on, then," he said, capturing her hand in his. She didn't pull away.

Hand-in-hand, they set off across the yard. The moon was full, so they had no problem seeing where they were going. The gentle scent of roses drifted to them on a cool, spring breeze.

An entranceway had been carved out of the overgrown honeysuckle at the back of the property, behind which lay several more feet of unused property. Spike had sculpted the hedges, creating a cozy alcove, which he had transformed into a hidden, oval-shaped garden. Just two years ago he had hidden in this thicket, intent upon killing her, and ended up being her greatest source of comfort on that dreary night. And now he had transformed it into a piece of Heaven on Earth, just for her. How things had changed.

Pausing under the new arbor at the entranceway, Buffy examined the young vines planted next to it, tender offshoots with delicate, purple flowers fastened to the arbor.

"What's this called?"

"Wandering Deadly Skullcap. Believed in Victorian times to ward off evil. It'll fill in by next year. S'kind of sparse now." He gave her hand a squeeze.

Buffy smiled up at him. "Could come in very handy with the whole fighting evil gig."

"Well, it's powers'll definitely get tested soon, won't they?" Spike gazed down at her and winked, but she knew that he felt anything but cavalier about their upcoming battle with the First.

"I still can't believe this." Buffy's fingers slipped out of Spike's as she entered her new garden. She shook her head in wonder. The grass in the center was a plush, green carpet, ornamented by her mom's old garden bench. She felt enveloped by a blanket of nature, safe and secure. Buffy knew that she could easily shut out the world and be happy here.

Spike entered alongside her. "Look, I can't take all the credit. Xander and Anya...they bought all the plants and even got you that swing...couldn't have done it without them. Hey, the former demon's done well by herself. You Scoobies have no idea what she has squirreled away with all her investments and such."

Buffy cringed at her next thought. "Do you have to pay them back, Spike?"

Spike scoffed. "Yeah right. Those two owed me." At Buffy's puzzled look he added, "Well, I can't tell you, or I'll have to pay 'em back!"

Buffy crossed her arms in classic Slayer stance and pursed her lips. "You resorted to blackmail to pay for my garden?"

Spike thrust his hands in his pockets and grimaced. "Well...yeah."

Buffy couldn't help but smile while observing Spike's new conscience give him a good pinch. She stepped up to him and took his hand again in hers.

"Look, it doesn't really matter who paid, this was your idea...your baby. You came out here every night and worked when...well, when I thought you were out. She looked right into his eyes to make certain he understood. "No one has ever done anything like this for me. Ever."

Spike stepped closer to her, ducking his head and biting his lip in a way she had always found so endearing. "I'm glad you like it, Buffy. It should give you a little privacy with the lot of 'em in the house all the time."

Flustered by his nearness, Buffy stepped away and dropped his hand. She could have sworn that she heard Spike sigh at the loss of contact, and she caught her own before it could escape her lips. She started walking the perimeter of the tiny garden, stopping to dip her head and smell a perfect rose. Remembering from her daylight inspection that it was truly a deep crimson, she marveled at how it now looked black in the moonlight - as black as death.

"Spike...you said earlier that each rose color had a separate meaning?"

He seemed pleased for the opportunity to impart his knowledge to her, stepping forward eagerly. "Yeah, that's right. The red and white roses there...they signify unity."

"Hmm, that could be the unity of The Scooby Gang and all the potentials, right?"

Spike frowned slightly. "Yeah, somethin' like that." He reached in his pocket for his lighter and lit another cigarette, the yellow flame illuminating his chiseled features. Blowing out a stream of smoke through his nostrils, the cigarette dangled on his lips. "Alone, the white roses signify worthiness. You being the Chosen One, and all."

Buffy ran her hand down the stem of one white rose. "Hey, these don't have any thorns!" she exclaimed in wonderment.

"Hmm, noticed that, did you? That means something else entirely." He smiled smugly.

"Tell me."

"Well, love, thornless roses mean 'love at first sight.'"

Buffy held her breath and her eyes grew as wide as saucers. She was grateful that her back was to him. In the silence that ensued, she heard him take another drag. Despite the ringing in her ears, she could hear the molecules of cigarette paper disintegrating in hundreds of tiny explosions as he did.

Buffy decided that breathing would be good right about now, as she was feeling lightheaded. Exhaling as quietly as she could, she heard Spike walking towards her, and shoved her hands in her jean pockets so they could not betray her and reach for his hand again. She couldn't look at him, and abandoned the roses for the moment, stooping down to examine what she knew were wild violets. They had to be safe to talk about, right? Harmless, pretty, little violets. She swallowed hard, nervously fingering the dainty buds. The blooms had closed for the night, and mirrored the closing of her throat as Spike's boot came into her line of vision. His jean clad leg was just inches from her face.

"So," he spoke up suddenly. "What did you think I was doing all those nights?"

"Um, not sure. I guess I figured you were doing the bar scene, you know, meeting new...um...people."

"New girls, you mean." She could have sworn his voice was taunting.

"I wouldn't know, Spike." Buffy knew she sounded as flustered as she felt. He was standing too close to her and she couldn't think. What was the matter with her, anyway? It was just a garden. 'Yeah,' a little voice told her, 'just a garden he obviously put his undead heart and new soul into creating especially for you.'

Spike's voice was low. "I'm not interested in meeting any girls, Buffy."

She wasn't going to bite. "Okay, that's a bad choice of words," she thought. Changing the subject she asked, "So, what do violets stand for, anyway?"

"Violets signify fidelity, as in 'I have no interest in meeting other girls.'"

Buffy smiled to herself. So much for changing the subject. He was like a dog with a bone. She pulled a little white tag out of the dirt next to another set of blossoms which looked very familiar.

"Oh, forget-me-nots!" Buffy was immensely relieved at the simplistic and obvious meaning. Nothing romantic there, right?

Spike chuckled and she wondered if he could read her mind. "Ah yes; forget-me-nots were given to ladies in my day as a token of true love."

Buffy gulped. She knew he was enjoying this. At long last, he had found a safe way to remind her that it was still all about her. He was opening a door that she had closed one year ago, knowing full well that she really had to made the first move. He was trying to make it easy for her to do so. The question was: Did she want that door opened at all?

Feeling his eyes burn into the back of her head, she still refused to turn and meet his gaze. Standing and exploring again, she tried to put some distance between herself and the vampire. Perhaps he sensed her need for space, as he remained where he was, undoubtedly watching her every move. Passing by some lovely annuals, foxglove, cone flowers, impatiens and geraniums, she was now at the other end of the garden from him, and felt as though she could breathe again. Buffy paused by a large bush of coral-colored roses. She touched their petals gently and inhaled their fragrance.

"You know, I hated the smell of the hothouse roses at mom's funeral. I didn't think I'd ever want to see another rose as long as I lived." She turned to look at Spike and thought she saw him blanch. She quickly added, "But these don't bother me. Their scent is so subtle. They belong here...just like I do."

She saw him sigh in relief and then he was walking towards her, exhaling smoke, flicking what was left of his cigarette to the ground. He locked his eyes with hers, and wouldn't let go, his midnight blues twinkling, a small smirk on his lips. He just kept coming, all swagger and black leather, and she wanted to tell him to stop walking in slow motion. She felt her breath hitch and her heart pound.

But she had nothing to fear, as Spike stopped and flopped down on the bench in the center of the garden. He cocked an eyebrow expectantly, and she willed her feet to move. Sitting down gingerly, she tried to avoid any body contact, but his legs were sprawled out in his usual style, giving her little room.

Casting a sidelong glance at him, Buffy noted that he didn't appear to be uncomfortable at all. He was sitting with his elbows on his knees, leaning forward and gazing at the annuals he had planted with such care. Buffy turned to her left and looked at the red and white roses, their branches entwining, yet each bush stood alone and strong. Unity. Buffy suddenly realized that they didn't stand for Scooby unity to him, but their unity...hers and Spike's! He turned his head and caught her gaze. His eyes were still sparkling in the moonlight, and she saw gentle amusement in them.

"Where did you learn about all of this?" Buffy gestured to the new plantings.

Spike looked embarrassed and gazed at the ground. "Don't know if I ever told you, but I was a bleedin' wanker as a kid. Used to help my mum plant and such, if you can believe it. She taught me what every flower meant. Our garden was the envy of our village."

Buffy tried to place this Sid Vicious look-alike, former Big Bad, in a Victorian garden helping his mother plant roses. She realized that she new very little about Spike's life as a human, abbreviated as it was. She found herself longing to see photos of him as a young boy and man, realizing that this view into his tender past made him even more appealing to her.

She looked at his profile in the moonlight and softly asked, "Spike, why did you do all of this for me?"

He turned his head and regarded her. His expression was guileless, and she could see the small boy in him who gardened and was devoted to his mother. He looked down at the ground and ran a set of slender fingers through his hair. The confident Spike of just a few moments ago was suddenly replaced by William. He exhaled unneeded air in a huge sigh and confessed.

"Because, Buffy, all you ever get is death anymore, it seems, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. I wanted to give you something alive." He waited then, presumably until her eyes registered understanding. "I wanted to give you some place to walk in the sunlight...when I can't be with you."

Spike looked at her, gauging her reaction, and she slowly rose to her feet before he could see how utterly touched she was. Unbidden tears threatened to assault her eyes, tears she didn't want Spike to see. At a complete loss as to what to do or say, she returned to the coral roses and feigned a sudden intense interest in their leaves.

Buffy heard him stand and then felt him move behind her. She also knew that if she leaned back, just a little, her body would find his. The electricity she felt spark between them coursed through her body, warming her soul. Spike placed his hands on her shoulders.

"You okay, pet?" Buffy hadn't heard him call her that in nearly a year. It was like music to her ears.

Attempting to compose herself, she nodded, but still couldn't face him. She knew that if she did she'd see his love for her shining in his eyes, the love he had tried to hide from her the past several months. The trouble was, she didn't know how she would respond. She knew that with everything going on with the First, she had no right to give him any hope. It just wasn't a good time to be exploring all of their feelings.

"I'm fine," she said with false brightness. But she didn't move away from his grasp, and he didn't let her go, either. She closed her eyes and desperately searching for something to talk about that would break the dangerously vulnerable mood she was in.

Trying to make her voice as light as possible, she asked, "So, what do these coral roses stand for, anyway?"

The words were out before she thought about the possible consequences, and she had a sudden impulse to smack herself upside the head. She shut her eyes tightly and braced herself for Spike's answer, praying that it would be something mundane and meaningless. His breath grazed her neck as he leaned down to her ear, his hands tightening on her shoulders almost imperceptibly. His voice was low and sensual, drawing out the word for all it was worth.

"D e s i r e."

William take your bow and exit stage left, please. Spike was back in full force. "Oh, god," she thought, isn't this what she had wanted? Isn't this exactly what she had asked for, the return of her dangerous warrior? Buffy realized how unfair it was to expect Spike the Fighter to return for her, without the rest of the package coming along for the ride. And that's when she realized that she wanted the whole package. She wanted William's soul, his goodness and morality, but she also wanted Spike's sensuality, his demon strength and his power.

She felt her knees go weak and Spike turned her to face him. Placing a finger gently under her chin, he raised her face to meet his.

"There is still another rose bush."

"Oh, brother," she moaned silently in her head. If she tried to actually speak, Buffy knew that only baby babbles would come out of her mouth. Her limbs felt like jelly and her mind was numb. Spike turned her around again like some kind of marionette so that her back was leaning against his lean chest, his arms holding her around her waist.

He pointed to the last rose bush, which had bright yellow blossoms and buds all over it. It reminded her of the sunlight he would never feel on his face.

"Friendship." She had found her voice, after all. "I know that yellow roses mean friendship. Mom told me so." Buffy announced proudly.

"Yeah, love, but that's the modern meaning."

"Is there another?" At this point, Buffy gave up all hope of actually thinking before she allowed her words to escape.

Spike turned her around to face him and gazed into her eyes, his hands on either side of her waist. Marveling at the fact that she was still allowing him to hold her, Buffy realized that she felt pleasantly detached from the rest of the world, almost drunk. It was as though she could finally let herself go in this secluded garden, hidden away from everyone but the one person who knew her better than she knew herself.

Spike was gazing at her with an intensity she had only seen during their most passionate coupling. And, there was a hint of sadness in his eyes.

"I planted the yellow roses, Buffy, to ask you to remember me."

She frowned, her lips pouting. "I could never forget you. Hey, wait a minute. I don't have to forget you, because you're always around....like 24/7...well, except when you're sleeping, but..."

When he didn't laugh or smile, the meaning of his request hit her. She pulled away. "Spike. You're not going anywhere. I won't allow it." She assumed her Slayer stance, arms crossed, chin lifted.

Not to be deterred, he reached out and grasped her upper arms, rubbing up and down comfortingly. His touch was gentle and didn't match the passion in his eyes. "Buffy, be serious. We're not all going to make it, and you know it. When you come back home...when it's all over... look...if I'm not with you... please, just promise me that you'll come here to this place I've created for you and remember me."

"Oh God, Spike, stop it!" Tears filled her eyes and spilled down her face. She took his face in both her hands. With clenched teeth she admonished, "You can't leave me, do you understand? I need you! Everyone I love is always leaving me, and I can't take it anymore!"

At Spike's stunned expression, Buffy released him and her knuckles flew to her mouth as she realized what she had just admitted to him, and to herself. She remained long enough to see joy and wonder fill his eyes before fleeing the garden. She could hear Spike's anguished cry ring out into the stillness of night, causing nocturnal birds of prey to flutter and fall from their perches, above.

"Buffy...stop! Please don't go!"

**************

"And she's off," he said wearily, collapsing on the bench, burying his head in his hands and running them through his stiff hair, releasing his curls. And then, he smiled.

"She loves me," he said aloud. He had known it already, but he couldn't hear it enough and repeated, "She loves me. Ha! I can die happy because Buffy loves me."

The soulful vamp rose to his feet and strutted around the garden. "She loves me. She LOVES me!" he shouted to no one, and to everyone.

And then he took out a smoke and lit it, settling himself back on the bench to wait for her. Too much had passed. Too much was to come. She'd be back. And, he would be ready.

**************

Buffy awoke from a fitful sleep with Spike's plea still ringing in her ears, and sat up her in bed, drawing her knees up to her chest, tucking herself into a tiny, insignificant ball. That's how she felt, insignificant and incompetent.

Never one to express her deepest emotions, she pushed them aside in favor of witty banter with her friends and inspirational speeches to the girls. She was never willing to show her weaknesses...the chinks in her armor. She couldn't afford to need anyone because, as soon as she did, they left. They had all left - her dad, Angel and Giles.

One person never abandoned her. Well, he had gone away for a little while, but for a damn good reason. He had left for her, to earn his soul; but, he had come back. Tears welled up in her eyes, again. Had she ever truly processed the magnitude of that selfless act? With piercing regret, she realized that she had not. If she had done so sooner, what would she have done?

Instead, tonight she had run away from him, yet again. Her body, mind and soul cried out for him, even in slumber. She was betraying herself by running, and now her mind was not going to let her rest.

She loved him. She as much admitted that to him and herself tonight, as well. But, when had that happened? Wasn't love something that suddenly hit you? It had with Angel. And, why did Spike seem to know it before she did? He seemed so assured in the garden. She doubted that he would have gone to all that trouble if he had not been fairly confident about her feelings for him.

Her mind flashed back to that fateful night in her bathroom. She closed her eyes as a wave of nausea gripped her. It was the last time they had spoken about love. What had she told him? Why couldn't she love him? She began rocking as she struggled to bid the dark memories, long blocked, to the surface

'I have feelings for you, I do. But, it's not love. I could never trust you enough for it to be love...'

Wearily, she unfolded her limbs. She knew that she trusted him now. He never failed her. He was a changed man...completely altered, and yet the same. It was as though he had been torn down and built back up. He made her want to be a better person. The new Spike was patient and kind with her. She believed in him and trusted him as much, if not more, than Dawn, Xander and Giles.

And she knew that it would break her heart to be without him.

Buffy padded across her room to the windows and threw them open. The moon was still full, and high in the sky. Straining to see inside her garden, she realized that it was, truly, hidden.

Sighing, she grabbed her mom's old afghan and wrapped it around her shoulders. At her dressing table, she ran a brush through her hair, and slipped into a pair of worn sneakers. Making a stop at the bathroom to brush her teeth and splash cold water on her face, she descended the stairs quietly, and found Xander silhouetted against the living room window, on watch.

"Buff," he whispered, tiptoeing towards her. "You okay?"

"Yeah, I guess. Couldn't sleep. Is everything okay down here?"

"Yeah, except Spike's not home yet, and it's 3:00."

Buffy took in this information with a nod. "I'm gonna go out back for a bit." She left Xander in the foyer before he could ask any more questions.

There was a chill in the air, and a raccoon scampered away from the trash cans by the deck as she eased her way out of the kitchen and onto the deck.

"Spike?" she called softly as she trotted down the steps. The only answer was an owl's soft "Hooo?" from the huge sycamore, above.

Reaching the arbor, she craned her head to peek inside. On the bench sat Spike, his blond hair glowing silver in the moonlight. He was doubled over, his arms crossed on his knees, his forehead resting on them.

**********

"Spike?"

He had heard her, of course. He had known the very moment she had emerged from the house. Her heartbeat was fast, and her scent told him that she had been to bed. He groaned inwardly at the thought of warm, sweet Buffy under her covers, asleep.

Spike quickly scrubbed his face with his hands, attempting to remove any evidence of his recent tears, and then slumped over again. He had waited for hours for her to come back, and had nearly given up all hope. Gone was his confidence of earlier.

Standing in front of him, he knew she was reaching out a hand as if to touch him, but she didn't follow through and it just hung, suspended in the air above his head. As fast as lightning, he seized it and pulled her down on to her knees in front of him. The afghan fell from her shoulders as she looked up at him, shocked.

"What do you want?" he ground out, his voice low and husky.

"Xander said you never came in. I-I just wanted to see if you were okay."

He shook his head and his response was slow and deliberate, as though he were speaking to a child. "No. I mean...what do you want from me?"

Buffy stammered, "I-I don't know what you mean."

"Who do you want me to be, Buffy, hmm? Last year you used me until I turned into an insane monster. I go and get this bleedin' soul for you, to give you what you deserve 'cause I never want to hurt you again. You tell me you believe in me. You tell me that I can't leave because 'you're not ready for me not to be here.' A couple of weeks ago you tell me you want the dangerous Spike back, and here I am, but then you run away! Buffy, I'm so tired of you runnin' away from me!" He let go of her wrist and buried his face in his hands.

"Spike, look at me." She gently ran her fingers through his hair.

He sat upright and swiped at new tears. His expression was impassive as he avoided her eyes.

"I'm not gonna run away again, I promise."

Spike still didn't look at her. Sadly, she realized that he didn't believe her.

Buffy stood up and sat on the bench next to him. "Look. See? Here I am. No running."

Spike glanced sideways at her and then looked at the stars again. He reached out with what he saw was a trembling hand and grasped hers tightly. Buffy covered his hand with her other, and Spike felt a lump form in his throat at the simple gesture.

Buffy looked down at their joined hands in her lap. Her hair fell over her face and Spike reached over and tucked it behind her ear again, his hand lingering longer than need be.

She sighed and gave him an apologetic little smile. "It suddenly occurs to me that I don't even know how to talk to you anymore. All I've pretty much done is fight with you, argue with you, or order you around." Her green eyes grew wide and filled with tears.

Having no desire to make her feel any worse than she already did, Spike remained silent. She had to do this on her own and he had already tried to make it easier for her. He knew, in his gut, that if she couldn't do it, he would leave as soon as the war with the First was over. The knowledge both saddened and empowered him.

"Spike, I know things are going to get bad. Heck, they're already bad; but they are going to get a lot worse, and soon. God, things have been so hectic around here, I haven't had much of a chance to even think about anything else."

Spike squeezed her hand in encouragement.

"I guess that's why it's been so easy to just avoid thinking about my feelings for you."

Buffy let go of his hand and stood up, walking over to the yellow rose bush. Spike swung around on the bench to watch her. She suddenly looked so tiny and vulnerable to him, standing there in her pajama bottoms and camisole. She shivered and rubbed her hands over her upper arms. Spike fingered a corner of the afghan on the ground, but remained where he was and waited.

Buffy broke off a rose blossom and lifted it to her face to inhale its scent. "But the reason I could never forget you, Spike - the reason I never want to have to forget you - is because I - I love you."

Before she could get the last word out, he was upon her, wrapping the afghan around her shoulders and gathering her close to him, wishing that he had some body heat to share with her. They were both crying. He buried his face in her velvety soft neck and hugged her, rocking them both back and forth to lull them and quiet their tears.

Buffy suddenly laughed and looked up at him, and Spike thought he had never heard or seen anything more beautiful. "Say it again, pet. Say it again."

She took his faced in her hands and proclaimed, "I love you. I love you," laughing again. "I love you!" she yelled, and Spike picked her up in his arms, spinning her around. The neighborhood dogs started barking and Spike howled right along with them, causing Buffy to dissolve into a fit of giggles. He stopped spinning and set her down and both of them stumbled to the side, thoroughly dizzy.

Regaining his balance, his arms still around her loosely, Spike panted for unneeded air, his shoulders heaving up and down. Hungrily, his eyes searched her face while his hand brushed her hair out of her eyes. Her eyes shone with her love for him, and he groaned as he pulled her close. Still lightheaded, Spike dipped his head, his mouth seeking and finding her lips, which were swollen and hot from crying. His arms gathered her even closer in a protective and tender embrace, his hands coursing up her back, grabbing handfuls of silken hair, before plunging down her spine, his fingers just brushing the tops of her hips.

Buffy shrugged off the afghan and melted into him...there was no other word for it. He didn't know where he ended and she began. His tongue parted her lips and met her hot one, and he moaned with pleasure as their mouths tangled. It felt like it had been longer than a year since he had last tasted her. Her kisses were manna in the desert. He was infused with strength, hope and a love such as he had never known and would never know again.

As Spike's hands continued to stroke her back, he felt the warmth from Buffy's kisses spread down his chest and flood his groin. His hands traveled lower down her back, grazing more of her hips. He barely restrained himself from yanking her hips to him and grinding her against him.

"God...Buffy..." he murmured against her lips before pulling his head away and regarding her. Her head was thrown back and her eyes closed in utter bliss. But, he couldn't go further until he knew for sure what she wanted.

Buffy opened her eyes, looking puzzled, if not a bit irritated. "What's wrong?" she asked, breathlessly.

"Nothin', love...shh..." Spike smiled gently and showered her cheeks, forehead and eyelids with tiny, chaste kisses before pulling back to search her face again.

"Spike...don't stop..." Buffy leaned into him again.

"Are you sure, Buffy?"

She gave him her answer by thrusting her hips into him and whimpering with need. Spike shrugged off his coat and spread it on the ground with one arm, still holding Buffy with the other. He lifted her into his arms, kissing her throat and murmuring into her ear as he set her down on his duster. His eyes never left her body...her nipples hard from the chill in the air, her golden tummy peeking out from under the camisole, or her eyes heavy lidded with passion, imploring him to hurry.

Spike quickly divested himself of his shirt and unbuckled his belt. Slipping his jeans and boots off, he smiled shyly because his need for her was so obvious. This was new; he had never been shy about sex. Buffy must have sensed his embarrassment and she held up her arms to him.

"Spike..." she murmured as he joined her. And then, he was lost in her.

************

He had cuddled after sex with Dru, but Buffy had never permitted it during their affair. Spike felt as though he were floating as Buffy languidly threw her leg over his, her arm resting on his chest, her head buried in his neck. They dozed, warm and sated under the worn blanket.

Spike stirred as he smelled dawn approaching.

"Buffy, love...we need to get up."

"Mmm...no..." she protested.

"Come on, pet. The sun will be up soon."

Spike kissed her ear and gently extricated himself from her limbs. Once he was standing, Buffy offered an arm to him, and he pulled her to a stand. Before he knew it, she had leaped up and was straddling him. He caught her by her behind and laughed, kissing her raw lips with tender caresses from his own. Buffy ran her hands through his hair and slipped her tongue into his mouth, probing deeply, sucking, until his need for her was once again apparent.

A growl escaped from the back of his throat and Buffy giggled against his lips. Spike pried her legs from his and set her down, nuzzling her neck. Her pout was absolutely adorable, and he captured her bottom lip and bit it.

"Upstairs, Slayer...now."

They hurriedly slipped their pants on. Buffy grabbed their tops while Spike threw his duster on. He wrapped a half-naked Buffy in the blanket and swooped her up into his arms. Spike stumbled out of the garden, to the music of Buffy's laughter, and ran across the backyard to the deck.

They disappeared inside, where an astonished Xander could only gape at the couple clumsily making their way up the stairs.

None of them saw the First emerge from the garden in the guise of Spike, arms akimbo, a triumphant smirk on his face.

"Your time has come, at last, Slayer."

The ultimate Evil watched as the old, white-hair man appeared from the front yard and toddled around to the back, standing under Buffy's open bedroom window, harmonica in hand.

The End

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