“You want a drink?” he offered gruffly, finally breaking the tense silence.
She looked at him cynically.
“Oh yeah, let’s get Buffy drunk. And besides - this is the sort of party that has my little sister at it. There should be no drinking!”
He gave her an appraising look.
“That must be why you look like you’re having such a good time, pet.”
She leaned back a little, releasing a sigh.
“They’re all – at me,” she said in a small voice. Not looking at him. Oh no. Because that would be bad.
“Big bad monsters,” he agreed. “Um, who exactly are we talking about?”
“Everyone. The whole ‘happy-birthday-smile-for-the-camera’ brigade. Why do I have to feel like smiling?”
“And again, I’d have to suggest alcohol might help, but then who am I to corrupt the slayer?” He paused upon seeing the look she gave him. “Any more than I might have already done,” he added with a slight grin.
“Buffy! Are you up there? Birthday cake!” came Willow’s voice from the bottom of the house.
“Better go smile for the camera,” she sighed, getting up slowly and tiredly.
“Yeah. I reckon I’m gonna go soon.” Spike made a show of yawning and stretching. “Finished up the beer and if I have to listen to that – music - any longer I’m going to have to stake myself.”
“Wow. You think that’d work with all the vamps?” she asked, with a hint of a smile on her lips.
“Don’t you have cake to cut?” He watched her make her way down the steps, ass swaying slightly, and he realised. He couldn’t stay around here. Not any more.
She returned to the same place on the stairs some time later with cake and a bottle of…something.
“You still here?” she asked without great enthusiasm.
“Seem to be,” he replied, puzzled. “Not entirely sure why.”
“I remembered this – revolting stuff,” she said, wrinkling her nose at the bottle as she handed it to him reluctantly. “No one else around here is ever going to drink it.”
“That’s a thirty year old malt whiskey!” He touched the label appreciatively. “You know, you really do have the worst taste, woman.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed,” she replied, eyeing him ruefully. She took her place beside him once more, feeling herself relax now she was away from her friends and sitting next to a vampire. Stupid irony, she thought idly.
He seemed to concentrate on pouring the whiskey and avoiding her eye.
“Sure you don’t want some?” he offered, waving the bottle in front of her.
She pulled a face of utter disgust. “Think I’ll stick to the nice, safe, non-toxic cake, thanks all the same.”
She ate her birthday cake alongside the whiskey-slurping vampire.
“No chance the music is going to improve?” he asked conversationally.
Conversationally? It had to be a plot, decided Buffy. But if he could do polite then so could she. Or if not polite, then at least an exchange that didn’t involve heavy weaponry.
“Yeah, when I want to empty the house, then we’ll put on your music,” she answered, as condescendingly as she could manage through a mouthful of cake.
They sat side by side in relatively comfortable silence.
“So. What’s with the cute little boy-toy?” he asked casually after a while.
“Cute indeed,” Buffy nodded, a glint in her eye.
He rolled his eyes and knocked back a shot of whiskey.
“And…..he’s a boy,” she finally added quietly.
“And that’s what you want,” Spike sighed and refilled the glass. Buffy absent-mindedly picked it up and took a sip.
“No – yeah – no! It’s what really doesn’t work with my strange little life.” She stared into space.
“So…” he prompted.
“So - nothing. I’m the Slayer. I don’t get a normal life. I don’t get a life. God, I don’t even get a death. And I don’t get to go out with nice, normal boys.”
He looked at her with a gleam of hope, trying to control the urge to talk, to babble, to persuade and to probably bollocks it up all over again.
“You starting to see things straight, love?” he finally asked. She jumped to her feet.
“Why do you always have to do that? Why do you want me to say that I’m on the dark side? It’s not where I belong,” she ranted. “And when was the last time you were on the dark side anyway? And you know what? You sound like something out of Star Wars!”
His face held only amazement. She sat down again, feeling slightly sheepish. Tantrum over. She picked up his glass once more and finished the drink, grimacing.
“Well, you do,” she said with a pout. Somewhere along the line something had gone askew. Or maybe this was what she should have been saying last week. “And I hate it when you say stuff like that. I’m not a demon and I’m not evil and just for the record, Oh Big Bad, neither are you lately.”
“Am bloody too,” he said, but without conviction. He pushed his hair back, searching for words that wouldn’t send her jumping over the banisters. “Buffy - I’m sorry. I don’t mean to upset you. I really didn’t. It’s just….we are the same, and you don’t see it. We don’t belong here.” He indicated the party below.
“If we are the anything like the same,” she said carefully, “That might be because you are out patrolling, killing the bad guys and saving the world. Which would make you a super hero.”
He gaped at her in horror. She tried to smother a smile.
“You take that back!” he said, offended. “Make me sound like the bloody Ponce.”
“But you can say that I’m all – wrong. And that I don’t belong with my friends and that….” She trailed off.
“Yes, pet. Have a look at you, life and soul of the party, off with your friends havin’ fun. Not sitting on a half-lit staircase with a…..neutered vampire!” He gave her a quirky look.
“I still love them!” she said defiantly. Neutered vampire be damned, she thought defiantly.
“Course you do, pet. But we do have stuff in common, Buffy. We’re both freaks for a start – and that’s even by Hellmouth standards. No one gets your slayer stuff. Not really. And no one’s even heard of a vampire that can’t bloody bite anyone!”
“You can bite me,” Buffy pointed out. She felt rather than heard his sharp intake of breath. “That wasn’t an invitation!” she said warningly. Then began to laugh. “Oh god, my life is a bad, bad joke!”
He looked at her, confused now, as she buried her head in her hands and giggled. Oh well, laughing was probably better than crying. He noted the empty glass beside her and helped himself to a swig from the bottle.
“So, we’re okay then,” he said warily, watching her, waiting for another mood-swing.
“I’m sorry,” she said impulsively, “About the beating you to a bloody pulp. I’m just…”
“…a cranky bitch sometimes,” he supplied, ducking the light punch she aimed at him and smirking. “And I’m a semi-evil vampire.”
“And I still remember where your unbeating heart is!” she told him in mock-warning, patting his chest.
“Trampled under your feet when last I checked,” he said, cocking his head to one side and trying to meet her eyes. Her hand still hovered over his heart.
Something changed in the air, the electrical charge hitting them both.
Slowly, she leaned forward and kissed him gently. He pulled her closer with a muffled cry of, “God, Buffy!”
Their mouths met and sanity faded fast. They kissed long and hard, oblivious to the people and party beneath them. Too many days. They clung to each other desperately, bodies colliding and limbs entwining.
He was the first to draw back. She looked at him questioningly. He sat back and groped for his drink, laughing at her indignation.
“Oh, get your priorities right?” she huffed.
“I have,” he said, still smiling as he took a sip. He drew her back into a alcohol-laden kiss.
Hmm. Whiskey not so bad, she thought, tasting him, exploring the recesses of his mouth.
She could feel his smile as she sought out his tongue with hers and she licked his lips.
“More?” he offered and she nodded hungrily.
He held the bottle out of her reach, took a gulp from the bottle and leaned forward to meet her mouth. She giggled back into him, resulting in spillage.
She pushed him onto his back against the steps and licked his mouth clean, moving slowly towards his throat, enjoying his groans as she lightly sucked on his skin, following each rivulet of liquid.
She gasped in shock as she registered something cold touching her back. Something icy. Something…like ice. Her eyes shot open to meet his twinkling blue eyes. That look on his face, the one of mischievous triumph, the one that meant she absolutely *had* to twist and turn in a futile attempt to evade his grip.
Even when she wanted him to win.
His strong hands held her steady, his eyes mocking her as she squirmed against cold, wet hands doing all sorts of delicious things, exploring and testing territory.
“Where’d you get that?” she tried to complain as his hands moved around onto her stomach, tracing cold, wet patterns, moving up, up further. Her voice was barely a whimper. She bit back a moan.
“You have to have ice with whiskey, pet,” he explained, his own voice catching as she saw the heavy lidded look of lust and surrender cross her face.. He fended off her half-hearted attack with one hand while the other, with the fast melting ice cube, trailed down her throat and over her neckline.
He finally let the cold, watery remains fall down her top and she gasped.
“Need to get you out of those wet clothes, love,” he whispered huskily into her ear, a hand travelling over her wet, cloth-covered breast.
“So do you!” she retorted, pouring half the whiskey bottle over his chest.
He chuckled as he rescued the remainder from her hand. That was his slayer. “Now that’s just a waste,” he chided, “We could find much better uses for that, I promise you.”
He worked his hands under her now damp and clammy top. She moaned softly and moved closer, almost sitting astride him and manoeuvring to allow him easier access. They kissed again, more urgent now. He pushed her onto her back and straddled her. Both winced at the noise as she hit the banister and he dropped the whiskey bottle in shock.
“We are not allowed knock this house down!” she gasped, harsh reality intruding on her world.
“Somebody might notice,” he agreed, trying to pull her back into a kiss.
They stumbled up the remaining steps and fell behind the first door they found, slamming it shut and falling on the bed.
“Missed you,” she admitted. He groaned at the words.
“You could have told me that yesterday,” he scolded, pulling her shirt apart and burying his head in her breasts. They tore each other’s clothes off.
“How’s that cramp?” she asked with a naughty smile. “Still in need of ice?”
“None left,” he admitted. “Call around tomorrow…in the meantime, maybe there’s something else you could do….” He trailed off into a groan as her head disappeared from view. One flick of her tongue and he was lost.
“You bring that whiskey?” Her head bobbed up.
“Um, do I get in trouble if I say yes?”
Tutting, she grabbed the bottle from his flailing hand and vanished from sight once more.
He yelped as the sting of alcohol hit sensitive areas. And hissed in relief as her mouth relived the tension.
“No,” he said, clearing his mind.
Struggling up, he found her giving him a quizzical look. “No?” she questioned.
“I want you,” he insisted, pulling her up towards him.
“Some particular part of me?” she asked in mock-confusion.
“You could say that,” he said with a grin, throwing her on her back. “Us super heroes are hard on clothes aren’t we?” he laughed as he heard the satisfying rip of Buffy’s panties.
“Now are you sure about this?” he teased. “Because I don’t want you turnin’ up tomorrow saying I took advantage of your temporary insanity.”
“It’s semi-permanent insanity!” she grumbled, pulling his body closer.
He was momentarily stilled by her words. Semi-permanent. Coming from Buffy, that sounded like a life commitment.
She gazed at him; hovering above her, looking stunned. And grabbed his ass, pulling him into her. He laughed at her impatient urgency, but his smile faded as he felt himself enveloped by her hot depths.
Her moans grew louder. He shushed her to no avail.
“What happened to being quiet?” He was answered by an uncontrolled groan.
As he began to thrust faster and deeper, he covered her mouth firmly with his hand, suddenly imagining a screaming Buffy and a room full of concerned Scoobies. She bucked beneath him, head thrown back…then bit into him viciously as she came.
In the same instant he felt the pain, he howled loudly, came violently and was thrown off the bed by a slayer who was not pleased with his sound effects.
“You idiot!” she hissed, still trembling slightly. “You want an audience?”
“And throwin’ me around the room should solve that problem!” he retorted, as quietly as he could.
He lay on the floor, watching her as she succumbed to her second fit of giggles that evening.
“Someone on the stairs!” he whispered suddenly, tossing clothes at her and scrambling to his feet.
Super speed saw them barely clad by the time the door creaked slowly open.
Buffy held her shirt closed over her chest while a topless Spike fastened his belt....
“Eewww!!” wailed Dawn at last. “That’s my bed!”
“Anyone else coming up?” asked Spike with urgency.
Dawn huffed and puffed and left the room, throwing her arms in the air. They heard her talk to Xander and Anya outside the door.
“No, nothing there. I think we have like, mice…or something.”
“Mice,” Buffy shook her head in disbelief. “We’re mice, apparently”
“Quiet as mice,” agreed Spike and they both cracked up, desperately trying to laugh quietly.
They had finished dressing by the time Dawn reappeared. She looked at them sternly.
“I want to see you both downstairs in ten minutes. And you’ll change the sheets on my bed!”
“I’m in such trouble,” groaned Buffy for the fourth time, laying her head on the table in quiet despair, as she and Spike awaited the wrath of Dawn.
“This is worse than when mom found out about me and Angel!”
“Why? D’you shag the poofter in Dawn’s bed too?” asked Spike sourly, continuing to pace the kitchen floor.
Buffy threw a punch in his direction which he avoided with ease.
“You know, it might have been better if we’d hit your room instead,” he suggested, helpfully. She glared at him.
“I didn’t even *notice*!” she wailed. “And you *know* this is all your fault!”
“That’s my middle name, int it?” he grumbled. “We’ll just have to deal with it, love. Looks as though the cat’s out of the bag.”
“Is that like ‘The naked vampire’s out of my bed’?” asked Dawn’s voice. The younger girl stood at the door, glaring at them both.
“Dawn! I’m so sorry!” Buffy looked at her pleadingly. “I would never….”
“Have sex in my bed?” Dawn interrupted sarcastically.
“It was that or the stairs, Bit,” put in Spike. Buffy thumped him in the ribs while Dawn rolled her eyes in disgust.
“I would have said ‘Get a room.’ I wouldn’t have meant MINE!”
Buffy hid her face in her hands. This was not how authority figures behaved. This was no way to instil discipline in her sister, or….ever be able to look her in the face again. This was not the sort of thing her mother would have done. Or Giles. She was startled from her brooding by a sudden mental image of Giles….and her mother……Gross.
“Where’s everyone else?” she asked at last, managing to meet her sister’s eye.
“Gone. At last. We had a tiny little bit of a problem with a spell and no one could leave, but it’s okay now, all sorted.” Dawn looked innocently at the ceiling.
“Yeah. I don’t know how you didn’t notice all that. Could it have been the hours of sex you were having in my bed?”
“But how? Was it Willow?”
“No, it was nothing. All fixed. And stop trying to change the subject!”
Buffy looked at her with suspicion, but dropped the issue.
“And wow!” continued Dawn crossly. “Did you have to be so loud? I mean, I think the whole street heard you! Possibly the world.”
“His fault!” Buffy indicated Spike, a poor attempt to deflect the blame. He spluttered in righteous indignation and held up his bite-marked hand. Dawn squealed and covered her eyes.
“I should not be seeing this!” she yelped. “I can’t believe you people!”
The guilty pair looked suitably abashed.
“And can I just point out that Buffy’s room is about thirty seconds further away than mine. You guys couldn’t make it that far?”
Spike and Buffy caught each other’s eyes, almost smiled…and quickly looked away.
“Can I say once more – eeww!”
“Sorry,” said Spike, apologetically. “We’ll stick to Buffy’s room in future.”
“Spike,” said Buffy calmly, “Stop helping.”
“Fine!” he groused. “I’m going to watch telly. Unless you ladies would prefer I take a walk in the bright morning sunshine?” He stomped off.
Dawn and Buffy exchanged glances and began to smile.
“Did I mention that my room smells like a brewery?” asked Dawn. “That’s not a good example to be setting your little sister!”
“And so we’ll blame it on Spike,” said Buffy firmly. “Are you by any chance enjoying the being in charge around here?” she enquired.
Dawn sat down at the table beside her, looking smug.
“Well, I do seem to be the only mature person here at the moment. Guess I’m the grown up. Which is weird – ‘cause Spike’s like a hundred.”
“Are you really okay with this? That it’s Spike?” asked Buffy cautiously. And found that she almost bit her lip clean through as she awaited the answer.
“Of course. Spike is the coolest. I do mind it being in my *bed*!” said Dawn pointedly. But with a glimmer of a smile.
“Never, never, never again,” promised Buffy.
“And you’re paying for therapy when I need it!”
“That seems only fair.”
“And when I want naked boys in my bed you won’t complain.”
“Wow. I really did scar you for life. You’ve finally lost your mind, sister.”
“Sorry. I forgot. Of course I would have naked boys in *your* bed!”
“You’re never going to let me forget this are you?”
“The big money’s on no. Oh, and I heard a rumour that there’s good odds on me not ever having to do chores again!”
Buffy smiled at her sister.
“I might take the garbage out for a while. But you are still going to school and doing your homework, missy! And no blackmailing Spike into doing it for you.”
“So you actually like him, huh? I mean, you weren’t just trying to contaminate my bedroom to spite me.”
“Some days he’s the only thing that makes sense around here. God. That’s disturbing, isn’t it?”
“He loves you. And you two do make sense in a weird, shouldn’t-be-in-my-bed sort of way.”
“I’ll get over the trauma!” declared Dawn dramatically. “You just have to promise me one thing.”
“And that would be?” asked Buffy suspiciously.
“I wanna be there when you guys tell Xander,” she beamed.
Buffy groaned. “You are the sadistic evil sister from hell,” she informed her. “I have no idea where you get that from.”
“You want to go tell Spike I’m not going to stake him?” asked Dawn casually.
Buffy smiled and hugged her sister.
“And tell him not to even think about hogging the TV cos I’m planning to watch a lot of MTV today!”
Buffy got to her feet and headed out the door. As Hellmouth Buffy-birthdays went, that just hadn’t been the worst. And Spike was about to be landed with taking the garbage out for a month or two. Humming happily to herself she peeked around the living room door and watched him, sprawled across the couch, muttering curses at the television.
He caught her glance and they smiled at each other.
And then there were the thoughts of a crypt visit and ice to consider…..
“Oh, and Buffy?” came her sister’s voice from the distance, “Do you think you guys could not have sex on the couch please?”