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Wicked Ways
By jodyorjen

PAIRING: Spike/Willow. Spike/Buffy, Spike/Tara 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.
DEDICATION: For Annie, Mint Witch, Moose Loose Goose & Zola, my own “team beta.”
AUTHOR”S NOTE:
DISTRIBUTION: Please ask my permission first, just so I know where it’s headed.
FEEDBACK: Sure, fire away to jodyorjen@yahoo.com



Chapter 13

“What the hell are you doing here?” I asked Giles as I struggled to my feet.

“Where the hell have you been?” he countered. “It’s bad enough that you don’t even bother picking me up at the airport, but I show up here and the damn cab leaves me here, stranded in the middle of nowhere.”

“You’re supposed to be coming in tomorrow night,” I said to him. “Xander gave me the flight information.”

He glared at me. “Oh, quite right. I must be mistaken. I just spent two bloody days traveling to get here. I must have slipped through a temporal hole and magically arrived one day ahead of time.” He picked up his suitcases as I opened the front door and turned on the light.

“It’s just Giles, Willow,” I yelled loudly. “Everything’s alright.”

After a moment she came running out of the hallway into the living room, waving her axe. “Giles!” she said merrily. I grabbed the axe from her hand as she threw herself at him in a hug.

“Willow,” he exclaimed, surprised. “What are you doing here?”

She smiled at him. “I’m dating Spike,” she announced happily. “I’m going to be living here, at least while I’m on my spring break.”

He looked confused. “Why don’t I show you your room,” I suggested. He followed us down the hall. I opened the door to Tara’s room. The guestroom, I corrected myself. “This is it,” I informed Giles. “Bath’s right across the hall.”

He set down his bags next to the closet and looked around, taking in the blue walls and light pine furniture. “This is very nice, Spike,” he complimented me, as he took off his tweed jacket. “It’s a pleasant room.”

“Do you want to have some tea?” asked Willow. “Or something to eat? Spike and I were just going to have a snack before bed.”

He took off his glasses and rubbed his nose. “If you don’t mind, I’m a bit jet lagged. I think I’ll just do some reading and get some sleep.”

“There’s clean towels in the hall closet if you’d like to take a bath,” I offered. “We’ll see you in the morning.”

I followed Willow into the kitchen. “So you decided that you’re going to stay with me, then?” I asked, as I ran my hand along the back of her neck.

She shivered. “I want to see how we get along,” she said. “I’m willing to throw myself from the frying pan into the fire.” She cupped my face in her hands and we kissed. She held me for a moment and then stepped back with a sigh. “Time for food, think about food. I feel like something light.” She went into the pantry and came out with a box of Pop Tarts. “Do you want some of these?”

“No thanks,” I declined. She ripped open the silver bag that held the pastries and sat down at the table. I joined her, sitting down with a bottle of beer.

“Do you mind if we set up your altar in the morning?” she asked me. “I really just want to get to bed.” She yawned and rubbed her nose.

“We can do whatever you like tomorrow,” I told her. “If you’re going to stay with me, we should go to Buffy’s and pick up some of your things.”

“Do you have room for my stuff here? All I really need to bring is some clothes and my books.” Willow broke off pieces of the pop tart and ate it, making little noises of appreciation.

“I’ve got space in my closet and a few empty drawers,” I informed her. “I think we can manage.”

“You picked the best kind,” she said. “Strawberry frosted ones are my favorite.”

“Tara picked them out,” I responded.

She looked thoughtful. “Can I just come right out and say that this feels weird? Staying here, with you, when I know that you wanted to live here with Tara?”

“I wish things had worked out differently with Tara, but I can’t regret it leading me to this moment.”

She looked at me. “I want to be with you,” she said. “And maybe it’s selfish of me, but I’m glad that things happened the way they did.”

I reached out and stroked her cheek. “Me too, pet.”

She finished her food and yawned again. “Sleepy time for me.” We turned off the lights and went back down the hall to our room. “You finally got me where you wanted me. I really couldn’t resist your sinister attraction.” She laughed, and I did as well.

“You won’t be sorry,” I told her. “I’m going to make you happy to be here.”

She pulled me into a hard hug. “You won’t be making me that happy, not with Giles right next door,” she said.

“That sounds like a challenge, sweetheart,” I whispered, kissing her ear.

She pulled away. “Well, it wasn’t,” she said, sweeping her lips across my cheek. She then picked up her nightgown and the toiletries that I’d bought her. “I’m going to get ready for bed.”

I took off my clothes and slid between the sheets. Comfortably resting against the pillow, I turned on the television, channel surfing until I finally settled on a murder mystery from the 1940’s. Willow came back into the room and shut the door behind her, turning off the light. She joined me in bed, smelling of toothpaste and soap. I put my arm around her and she settled her head on my chest. “I can’t tell you how much I wanted this,” I told her.

She looked up at me, her eyes shining in the dim light. “I was so tired of being alone,” she said. “And being with you, it’s not just having someone to be with. It’s having the right one to be with. You’re the one.”

****

Early in the morning, my sleep was disturbed by something brushing across my thighs. Willows’ hair was sliding across my belly as she took me in her mouth, licking and sucking my cock. I reached down and stroked the back of her head, running the silken strands of her hair through my fingers. She was moving slowly and gently this time. The sensations of the heat of her mouth, the sleek feel of her tongue, and the small puffs of her breath were indescribable.

She pulled away and slid up my body, her lips grazing mine. I rolled us both over, sliding her satin nightgown up over her thighs. She pressed her face to my neck as I took her, and I held her close to me as we moved together silently. She moved her mouth to my ear and gently kissed it, as my fingers trailed over her shoulders. We slid together, skin over skin, a smooth flowing like water over rock.

****

Giles sat at the table in a plaid bathrobe, smearing butter onto a toasted crumpet. “Good morning,” I greeted the Watcher, as I went to the refrigerator and helped myself to a bag of blood. “See you found yourself a bit of breakfast.”

“I hope you don’t mind,” he said. “I certainly didn’t want to disturb the two of you.” He peered at me over his glasses. I ignored him.

“So how long are you staying for?” I asked. “When will you be heading back to merry old England?”

“I’m not entirely certain,” he replied. “I need to discuss a few things with Anya.”

“Well, I’m hoping to convince Willow to take a little trip with me after the wedding,” I commented. “You’re welcome to stay here while we’re gone. I owe you one in the guest department. Although to be fair, I should tie you to a chair or chain you up in the tub.”

Willow came in the kitchen, wearing the silk robe that I had bought her. “Good morning,” she sang as she entered the room. “How did you sleep, Giles?”

“Very well, thank you,” he said. “Obviously you did too. You look nice and refreshed.” I chuckled, and he glared at me.

She sat down with a banana and a glass of milk. “So, I think we should hit the mall this morning,” she said. “Get you a new shirt and tie for your suit. And I should pick up a dress. My usual clothes aren’t going to pass muster for tonight.”

“The seder will be a formal dinner?” I asked her.

She nodded. “All of my relatives will be there, it’s a big dressy deal. If we came in our usual clothes, we wouldn’t really blend.”

“Not that I will blend very well as it is,” I said, winking at her.

She frowned and took a bite of her banana. ”True.”

I wanted to talk to her about this, but not in front of Giles. “And how about you?” I asked him. “Lots of plans today? Going to toddle off soon?”

“I’m meeting Anya at the Magic Box. Then I have some other business to attend to before I see Buffy this evening. I’m going to dinner with her and Dawn and meeting her new boyfriend.”

“You’ll like Richard,” Willow said brightly. “He is definitely the kind of guy to pass parental type approval. Nice, stable, good job, smart. He’s a keeper.”

I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. “Unlike your pick, hmm? Not nice, not stable, no job.”

“I didn’t mean it to sound like that,” Willow apologized.

“And you are smart,” remarked Giles. “You’re perfectly intelligent. However, you lack common sense.” He looked thoughtful. “And of course, you lack a soul. You’re simply not capable of making moral distinctions.”

Were it not for the chip, I would have gladly eaten Giles. Seeing my expression, Willow changed the subject. “So, are you looking forward to the wedding?” she asked.

“Not especially,” said Giles. “For one thing, I am certainly not looking forward to spending the day walking around in a bathrobe clutching a plastic wand.”

“You get to be Obi Wan,” Willow argued. “He’s a cool character, not a johnny-come-lately from Episode One.”

“You’ll look great as Amidala,” I tried to reassure her, again. “I don’t know why you’re all riled up about it.” I turned to Giles. “And if you’re really unhappy about being Obi Wan, then you can be Chewbacca instead. Clem would be delighted.”

“Clem has saber envy,” agreed Willow sagely. She took a sip of milk. “Anya is torturing us with these costumes. She picked stuff that we would hate just to be vengeful.”

“The girl has to get her kicks somewhere,” I pointed out. “Seeing as she’s out of the actual torture business now.”

Giles looked at his watch. “I’d better get going if I’m going to meet Anya. I have to walk a mile just to get to the shop.”

I stood and pulled a key ring out of the drawer. “Here’s the spare key, so you can come and go as you please.”

“Thank you,” he said. He looked at me. “I really appreciate your hospitality, Spike. It’s good of you to let me stay.” There was an awkward silence between us, and then he walked out of the room.

“What is up with the two of you?” asked Willow. “You used to get along. You worked together all summer. I thought you were getting to be friends.”

“All he sees in me is a demon,” I said harshly. “He thinks I’m no better than a rabid Rottweiler on a chain.”

“Have you ever bothered to show him the other side of you?” she inquired thoughtfully. “You saved the soft stuff for Dawnie and Tara and I.” Willow paused. “Did Buffy ever get to see that part of you?”

“She wasn’t interested,” I retorted, finishing off my breakfast.

She came and sat in my lap, putting her arms around my neck. “Her loss,” she said softly. She bent her head and pressed her lips to mine. I loved her taste, the sweetness of her mouth. I loved her, I realized. I’d fallen in love with Willow.

“I like this so much,” I said, as she pulled away. “You in my bed at night. Seeing you in the morning. My very own girl.”

“Well, I’m all yours until I go back to school,” she announced as she rose off my lap and pulled me up. If you didn’t count the wedding, the gatherings before it, and dinner with her entire family, she was all mine.

****

“I like that one,” I told Willow. She wore a black dress with small cap sleeves, and looked at herself critically in the large triple mirror.

“I think I look fat,” she protested, wrinkling up her nose.

“I think you’re losing your mind,” I said gently as I lightly kneaded her shoulders. “You’ve been trying on dresses for hours. I think you’ve lost your tether on reality.”

“It’s just that no matter what I wear it will be the wrong thing,” she lamented.

“Then just wear something that you like and be done with it,” I told her. “I like this dress, but it’s not you. Pick something that is you. Get a big feather boa, or a dress that looks like it was made out of a Muppet. Pick out an insane hat. Be yourself.”

She turned and looked at me. “They don’t want me to be me. They want a smarter, prettier, more successful me.”

“Then they’re idiots.”

“They’re my family,” she argued.

“Well, they’re both then,” I smiled at her.

She smiled back. “Being around them makes me feel like a total loser,” she admitted. “They’re all so successful, and together. I’m just a huge disappointment to my parents.”

“It’s been a while, but I recall the feeling,” I told her. “I never lived up to my mother’s expectations, no matter how hard I tried.”

“How did you deal with it?” she asked.

“I disappointed her until the day I died. I never did redeem myself to her. I died before I had a chance to show her that I could amount to anything.”

She looked at me seriously for a moment, then grinned. “I feel much better now. Thanks for the pep talk.” She laughed and rested her head against my chest.

“I never claimed to be a font of wisdom. I’m more a man of action,” I replied, nuzzling her neck. She hummed with pleasure at my touch, and I growled for her, making her giggle.

“I think I’ll just buy this dress,” she decided. “If I spend any more time in the mall, my head will explode.” She put her hands on her head and demonstrated, complete with sound effects.

“I want to take you somewhere first.”

****

Willow stared down at the glass counter, her face blank. “Is this some kind of joke?” she asked, her voice cracking. “Because I’m not laughing.”

“I’m perfectly serious,” I answered her.

“These are engagement rings,” she said oddly.

The clerk looked at me uncertainly, clearly not used to this particular reaction to their solitaire inventory. I took her hand and turned her around. “Xander said that your parents would be happy if I bought you a big diamond. Well, we’re here, at the jewelry store. Pick a sparkly and be done with it.”

She looked at me, aghast. “Do you know one single thing about women?”

“Well, I thought I did.” I looked at her face, anger and pain warring in her features. “I’m not feeling very sure about that now.”

“Are you asking me to marry you or are you asking me if I want a diamond ring?” she said. “There is a relationship between these two questions, but that seems to have somehow been lost on you.”

“Would you want to marry me?” I asked her. “Is that something that you would want to do?”

She covered her face in her hands. “It’s like you’re selectively retarded,” she said in a muffled voice. “Or you’re an alien from another planet who doesn’t understand our earth ways.”

“You lost me,” I complained to her.

She pulled her hands away from her face. “Spike, this isn’t funny. You don’t bring up the whole marriage and diamond bit to a girl who is in love with you. It’s mean. It’s cruel to jerk me around like this.”

“I’m willing to marry you. I’m not quite sure how we’d actually do that, maybe I could get a forged birth certificate or something. Not a big deal.”

She spun away from me and walked out of the store. I watched her walk away, her hair bouncing around her shoulders as she stalked off. I turned and looked at the clerk. “I guess we need a minute,” I told him.

“Take your time,” he said with a smile.

I walked briskly out of the store, and saw Willow sitting on a wooden bench, clutching her shopping bags. “Go away,” she protested when I got near her.

“We need to talk.” I sat down next to her. “Maybe I didn’t explain myself very well.” She didn’t answer, just stared into space. “I told you that I was willing to turn you so that we would be together always. Did that not indicate a commitment to you?”

“But that was hypothetical,” she said, puzzled. “Shiny diamond rings are very- thetical.”

“I’ve spent a century looking for the next thrill. I was never content, never satisfied,” I said slowly, looking for the right words. “The way I feel with you, it’s deeper than desire, it’s like you’re what I needed to be whole. I can relax with you, and just be myself” I paused as everything suddenly fell into place. “I think that’s what real love is, I just never realized it. I was chasing the wrong thing, all this time. I never knew.”

“You’re saying that you love me,” she said wonderingly.

“I love you, and I want to make you mine, to be with you forever. From now until the end of everything.” I took her hand.

She looked back at me seriously. “If we have forever, there’s no hurry then,” she said. “If you love me, we can take the time to see if this can work. Not the love part, the getting along. Sharing our lives. Working in sync.”

I couldn’t risk losing her, not when she kept walking away. “Live with me and be my love. Let me buy you a ring. Pretend that what we have is forever. Act like it’s the truth, and maybe it will become it.”

****

I pulled in front of Buffy’s house and pulled my blanket from the back seat. We got out of the car and ran together to the house. Willow opened the door and we walked up the stairs. The house was empty and quiet. “Do you think I should leave a note?” Willow asked. “It seems a little rude to just take my stuff and then disappear for a week.”

We went into her room and I lay down on her bed. She went into her closet, pulling down clothes and making a stack on the chair. “We’ll see Buffy on Friday, if not before,” I responded. “But maybe we should stay here and wait until Dawn comes home, tell her in person. That way she won’t feel left out of the loop.”

“I think you’re right,” she agreed, standing on tiptoe and pulling down a hatbox. “I’m sure she hates being the last to know.”

She walked into the recesses of her closet. I turned and looked at the bedside table, inspecting a porcelain dish filled with little objects. I picked it up and looked through it. There were marbles, small polished rocks, a tiny metal key painted black with nail polish, and a doll, small as a thumbnail.

I dropped the marble on the floor and it rolled under the bed. I got down on my knees and slid underneath into the darkness. It didn’t take too long before I found it. It was resting against a small metal box that was shoved far up at the head of the bed. Curious, I pulled out the box as I retrieved the marble. It was a lockbox, I saw, and there was a symbol painted on the top of it in black nail polish. It was a magical glyph, although I didn’t know what it was for.

I picked it up and walked over to Willow. “Does this belong to you?” I asked her, holding out the box.

She looked at it and paled. “Where did you get that from?” She anxiously pulled the box out of my hands.

“Under the bed,” I answered. “It’s got some kind of ward on it. What for?”

“It’s private,” she evaded, sliding the box on the top shelf of her closet.

“Keeping secrets already?” I asked her with a grin. “Aren’t we supposed to be all sharing now that we’re together?”

“Some things shouldn’t be shared,” she maintained, not meeting my eyes as she fussed with a scarf.

It wasn’t like her to shut me out. “It’s magical,” I said. “Is it black magick, is that why you’re hiding it?”

“It’s nothing like that,” she denied.

“Then what’s got you all spooked, pet?” I asked, turning her to look at me. “You know that you can trust me with anything, don’t you?”

“If you saw what was in the box, you’d think less of me,” she whispered.

I tilted up her chin. “I love you. That’s just not possible.”

“It’s personal,” she reiterated quietly. “And it’s about you, and it’s very embarrassing, especially now, and I wish you would just let it go.”

“It’s about me?” I asked, confused. “What could you have that would have to do with me?”

She picked up the box and set it on the floor. She reached out her finger, and her eyes began to spark. I grabbed it before she could do anything with it and ran over to the bed. I held up the tiny key and waved it at her. “If it’s got you this riled up it has to be really good,” I declared.

“I told you, it’s embarrassing and it’s a secret,” she said firmly.

“About me?” Her refusal only served to intrigue me further.

“Yes,” she admitted reluctantly.

“Well now I’m dying to know.” She lunged for the box and I held it high, out of her reach. “I’ll tell you a secret of mine, if you let me open the box.”

“No,” she said, jumping and trying to grab the box.

“I’ll tell you two,” I promised her. “Two juicy secrets.” I grabbed her waist and pulled her close.

“Tell me that you love me again,” she demanded, her eyes shut. She pressed her head against my shoulder and held tight to my arm.

“I love you, Willow,” I reassured her.

She looked up at me seriously. “Promise me that you won’t be angry.”

“I promise.”

“I’m going to go downstairs and get my things from the dining room.” she said. “And when I come back, you’ll put the box back where you found it.”

“Alright.” She left the room and closed the door, and I opened the box. The first thing I noticed was the smell. My smell, mingled with Willows. I pulled out a small black bundle and unwrapped it. It was one of my shirts, ripped at the shoulder and again in the chest.

I remembered that fight; it had been a bad one. Giles and I had both gotten our asses kicked, and Willow had pulled off my shirt later and patched me up. The shirt smelled strongly of Willow, and was soft to the touch.

I pulled out a handful of Polaroids and looked at them, one by one. The first was me standing up against the wall at Dawn’s birthday party, holding a beer and chatting with Xander. Next was me kissing Dawn on the cheek that same night, her birthday crown on her head. Another showed Giles and Tara and I caught on our way out the door to patrol. Giles and I were laughing, and Tara was smiling up at us. There was one of the Bot talking to me, while I stood there with my arms crossed, looking away. I put that one on the bottom quickly.

I smiled at the next one. Anya and I stood, holding sparklers. That must have been from the Fourth of July barbecue. The most dog-eared one was Willow and me. I had my arm around her shoulders and her whole face was lit up with a smile. I was smiling too, as we looked down at the sign in her hands: The Boss of Us.

The box was crammed full. It held ticket stubs from the places we’d all gone together over the summer, a ripped piece of leather from the hem of my duster, a scribbled IOU that I’d given her one night at the Bronze, cigarette butts, and two rings that I’d long forgotten owning. I unfolded a small red silk square. It was my old shirt, the one I’d shrunk in the wash at Xander’s, years ago.

There were two velvet bags at the bottom of the box. I opened one, and there was a wax impression of teeth, complete with fangs, and a hinge at the back. In the other bag was a small black vibrator. I opened and shut the teeth a few times, wondering.

I heard her coming back up the stairs and put the things in the box, shutting it. I slid it under the bed and sat down. She sat down next to me, and I kissed her cheek. “So when you said that you’d never thought of me that way, never thought I was sexy-”

“I lied,” she admitted, her face sad. “I’m sorry, Spike. I was afraid that if you knew how much I wanted you, it would scare you away. It scares me, too, and it’s in *my* head.”

“Can I ask you one question?”

“Yes,” she replied warily, her eyes scanning my face.

“How long?” How long had she kept it a secret?

“Since the first time you came back, when you wanted the love spell,” she confessed. “I used to think about you sometimes, about how scary you’d been, and how thrilling it was, when you smelled my neck, and wanted to bite me. And then you came back again, and you did try to bite me. That was when it really started. The imagining.”

She took my hand and I pulled her down, so that we were spooned together on her bed. I kissed her neck and rubbed my hand up her leg. “What did you imagine, love?”

“You on top of me, pinning me down, biting me,” she said faintly. “Only this time, you didn’t stop, just kept going. You’d drink from me, and you’d pull off my pants, and fuck me, hard.” She began to breathe faster as she described the fantasy, clearly becoming aroused.

I rolled over her and straddled her. Her pupils were dilated, her chest falling and rising. “You thought about it for years,” I marveled, running my hands along the neckline of her sweater. “You’d lie in your bed, late at night, with your little vibrator, holding my shirt.”

“I tried to stop doing it, after Tara and I were living together,” she continued softly. “I knew I shouldn’t be thinking about you that way, that it wasn’t right. But I’d still do it, every chance I could, when I knew she’d be away.” She shut her eyes, guilt washing over her features.

I pulled out her vibrator from my pocket and turned it on. Her eyes widened as I pulled up her skirt. I ran the vibrator along the length of her thigh, and she moaned. “Tell me about it,” I urged her, as I watched her writhe.

“I would draw it out as long as I could,” she whispered, her voice shaking. “I’d lie there, thinking about the way you looked, the way you moved, the sound of your voice.” I slid the vibrator up and down her thighs, making her shiver. “I would pretend that you were running your hands over my body, touching me.”

I unbuttoned her sweater and popped open her bra, rolling her nipples in my fingers as I moved the vibrator closer and closer to her slit. “I would imagine your head between my legs, feeling you licking me, sucking on me.” She gasped as I slid the vibrator underneath the edge of her panties, barely slipping the tip inside her.

She closed her eyes. “I imagined that you were touching yourself, jacking off hard, while you licked me,” she said, her hands unbuttoning my jeans and freeing my cock. She began to stroke me, and I pulled her panties off and began to move the vibrator inside her more forcefully, sliding it deeply within her and pulling out again. I was breathing hard now too, turned on by her revelation. “When I got close to the edge,” she panted faintly, “I’d pinch down hard on my neck, pretending I was feeling the fangs scratch at my neck, thinking of you, inside me, plunging inside me, taking me, my blood, my sex, all of me.”

I rammed myself inside her, moving the vibrator to her clit, rubbing it against her as I pulsed in and out of her body. She was wild, her hands twisting in my hair as I pounded against her. I released my demon, and the whole bed shook as I thrust in and out, rocking with the force of my movements. She screamed, and I tossed the vibrator aside, pinning her to the bed with both my hands as I sank my fangs into her shoulder. She came, and I pulled my fangs away so that I could see her face as she surrendered to her orgasm. She made the most amazing noises, gasping and crying out as she rocked. I buried my face in her hair as I exploded within her, grunting with the force of my release.

I heard the front door slam and Dawn’s voice. “Hello,” she called out, the sound of her voice clear through the open door. Willow and I scrambled away from each other, both still breathing hard from our lovemaking. The Niblet’s footsteps rang out as she dashed up the stairs. I buttoned up my pants and ran out into the hall, slamming the door behind me.

She turned the corner and saw me standing there. “Spike!” she squeaked, startled. She giggled nervously. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong,” I said casually. “Everything’s peachy.”

She looked at me oddly. “Peachy?”

“Uh huh,” I said, smoothing down my hair.

“So why are you all vampy then?” she asked curiously. I’d forgotten. I shook my head, and returned to my human visage.

My mind was a blank, still swirling from my orgasm. “Willow is moving out.”

“Really?” she said, puzzled. “When?”

“In a few minutes, I think,” I replied.

Dawn tilted her head and looked at me, then leaned in and smelled my breath. “Are you-- drunk?” she asked. “You’re acting really weird.”

“I need a drink,” I told her, and I led her back down the stairs. We went into the kitchen and I helped myself to a soda from the refrigerator.

“So you have to tell me all about this,” she demanded excitedly. “I want to know all the details.”

I took a big gulp of my drink. “She’s moving in with me. I think that’s all that we’ve really hammered out so far.”

“Wow,” said Dawn. “Good for you guys. I’m really glad that things worked out for her.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, curious.

“She didn’t tell you? About her crush on you?” she asked innocently.

Whoa. “How did you know about it?”

“She has a box in her room,” she informed me. “I was borrowing her clogs one day and I felt the edges of it, but I couldn’t see it. It’s invisible. So I figured that it must have something good inside, something cool. So I picked the lock and opened it. She had all these pictures of you inside, and one of your shirts. Tara nearly caught me with it; I didn’t see what else was in there. But I can put two and two together. There was a reason that she was hiding it.” She smiled shyly. “And I could understand how she felt, liking you, keeping it a secret.”

“Please don’t say anything to her about the box,” I asked her. “She would be really upset.”

“Well, she has you now,” she replied. “She would probably think it was funny-“

“Dawn, please. Don’t say anything about it.” I thought of how vulnerable Willow had been about the box, how afraid she’d been of showing it to me.

“Okay, if it’s important to you,” she agreed. “So, can I help Willow pack or anything?”

Willow walked into the kitchen. “Hi Dawnie,” she said, blushing slightly. “How was school?”

“It was fine,” answered Dawnie, smiling. “So, are you going to tell me your news?”

Willow looked at me. “I was thinking of moving in with Spike until my vacation is over.”

“I thought you were moving in. We’d agreed. It was settled.” She looked away.

Dawn looked between the two of us, confused. “Well, I’m going to go study now.” She left the room and I looked at Willow. She had turned away from me, and was fiddling with the spices on the rack near the stove.

“What did I do?” I asked her. “What did I do wrong?”

“You don’t understand,” she said softly. “The things that I’ve done. You’d hate me, if you knew. I’ve been pretending that it didn’t matter, but it does.”

“I could never hate you,” I protested. “I never would.”

She turned and looked at me. “You were in this house, grieving for my best friend. The woman you loved. And I was watching you, thinking sexual things about you. It was sick, and wrong.”

“You didn’t hurt anyone with your thoughts,” I argued. “No one knew.”

“I felt so guilty,” she cried. “I tried to focus on bringing back Buffy, to giving her back to you. I tried to think of Tara, to show her how much she meant to me. I loved Tara, but I wasn’t faithful to her. Not in my mind.”

“You didn’t hurt anyone,” I told her. “Nothing happened between us, not until we were both free. You have nothing to be ashamed of, Willow.”

“I pretended to be your friend, but I wasn’t, not really. You were in misery, and I was glad, because it brought you to me.” She looked down at the floor. “When you came back that night, crying over Tara, I was so thrilled. You came to me, and I got to hold your hand, to be near you. You fell asleep in my bed, and I watched you all night long. Wishing that you were mine. Hoping that maybe you’d notice me, see me in a different way.”

“And I did, Red. It was meant to be,” I reassured, as I walked over to her. “Maybe all of the crap that we’ve been through, it was just so that we would appreciate the real thing when we found it. If that’s true, we’ve both paid a price for love.”

“I’ve done so many things wrong,” said Willow. “I don’t deserve to have you.”

I kissed her, and she returned the embrace. It was sweet and light and full of hope and promise. “I’m a vampire,” I said quietly. “I’m not a good guy. I’ll never be a white hat. Maybe we don’t deserve it, either of us. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t seize this chance.”

She kissed me, and it became something fierce and naked: I truly felt her love and passion for me, unleashed. She tightened her hold around me, and I picked her up. She wrapped her legs around my waist as we kissed, and we staggered together up the stairs. I opened the door to her room and we fell together onto her bed. We pulled apart, and Willow waved her hand, the door slamming shut and locking. She whispered something under her breath and the room became completely quiet, all noise from the outside blocked out. I fumbled at my pants as she took off her sweater, leaving her bare. I pulled off her skirt as she slid my shirt off my arms. I entered her swiftly, both of us moaning as we joined together. She bit down on my earlobe, and her voice hissed in my ear, “Talk, talk now.”

I grabbed her ass in both hands and increased the rhythm, knowing what she needed. “You’re mine, baby,” I whispered. “I’m going to take you home and keep you there, in my bed until you can’t move a muscle. I’m going to take you every way that I want, in ways that haven’t even crossed your mind. You’re my woman now, and I’m never letting you go.” She bit down hard on my neck and shoulders, her hands grasping the muscles of my back. She matched every thrust, moving with me in perfect syncopation. “You wanted me all this time. Is this what you wanted, what you needed?”

“Yes, yes,” she cried brokenly.

“I’ll fight any battle to keep you, I’ll do anything. Nothing can tear us apart, not now.” I seized her head in my hands and we kissed as we came, melting into each other, becoming one.

****

“That’s the last of it,” announced Willow, as she stacked sweaters into my dresser drawer and pulled it shut. “Your male domain has now been thoroughly compromised.”

“Happy to hear it, pet.” I stretched out my arms. “Now come and lie down with me, take a little rest before we go to your parents house.”

She smiled at me. “Lying down in bed with you never winds up being restful. Napping does not include touching.” She came and sat down on the bed next to me.

I trailed my hand over her knee. “I like touching you. And you like it.” I put my head in her lap and looked up at her. “I’ll behave,” I said honestly. “I’ll be good, promise.”

“Okay,” she assented. I sat up and pulled off her sweater.

“It’s not good to sleep in your clothes,” I informed her. “I hear it’s unhealthy.”

“Really?” she said, arching her eyebrows.

“Bad for the circulation,” I assured her, pulling off her skirt. I pulled back the covers and slipped her underneath, taking off my clothes and joining her. I kissed her neck and brushed my hand across her stomach, twining my hand in the curls between her legs.

“You said that you’d be good,” she argued.

“I’ll be good,” I told her, as I moved my mouth to hers. She slid her arms around my neck, and her nipples pressed against me, already hard. “You want me, too, don’t bother denying it,” I said, kissing her neck.

“I can’t seem to stop,” she admitted.

“Works for me.” I cupped her hand around my cock, letting her feel how hard I was.

“Shouldn’t we pace ourselves? I mean, is it normal to have this much sex?”

“You have something else that you’d rather be doing?” I asked her, as I nibbled at her ear.

“I have some reading that I should do for class,” she said. “And we were going to set up your altar. I wanted to show you how to use your computer. We need to make reservations if we’re going away next week.”

“Would you rather be with me, or doing one of those things?” I suckled at her nipple, teasing the delicate flesh with my tongue.

“With you,” she answered. “But-“

I slid down her body and slipped my tongue inside her. I made her come, twice, three times, becoming more and more aroused by her moans. I loved the way she tasted, the way she moved underneath me. “Take me now,” she gasped. “Oh, fuck. Please, now, now. Spike.”

I moved up and over her, pulling her hands over her head. “Mine,” I hissed. “You’re mine.” I punctuated each word with a thrust of my hips, penetrating her deeply. “Mine, mine, mine,” I chanted. “I’ve got you. You’re mine.” I stopped. “Say it.”

She opened her eyes, and looked up at me. “I’m yours.”

“Tell me you love me,” I commanded.

“I love you,” she promised me, her eyes full of warmth.

I began to move again, filling her with my cock as if I could fill her with my self. “I love you. I love you so much.”

“I love you too,” she said earnestly. “Spike, I love you, I do.”

“I’m coming,” I cried out, arching my back. “God, yes.”

Willow grasped my hands hard, and throbbed around me, both of us splintering apart, falling together. She kissed my forehead, my cheeks, and rolled away. She looked at me, and brushed the hair out of my eyes. “You are a very possessive lover,” she observed softly. “And a little insecure. You don’t need to be.”

“I can’t seem to hold onto anything,” I responded. “I just don’t want to lose you too.”

“I want you as much as you want me. You don’t have to knock my socks off with your stamina in bed or make big commitments to hold onto me. You don’t need to prove yourself, not to me.”

I held her in my arms. “I’m just afraid of fucking things up,” I told her. “I don’t know how to make you want to stay with me.”

She kissed my lips. “I told you I’d stay,” she said. “I’ll stay with you until I have to go back to school.”

“I don’t want you to go.” I held her more tightly in my embrace. “I want you to make your home with me.”

She looked at me thoughtfully. “You wanted me to stay the night, then you wanted me to stay a week, now you don’t ever want me to leave. You need to relax, and enjoy what we have, not push so hard to make it last.”

I thought about it. “I’m not good at casual,” I replied. “I don’t think that I can pretend that I want less than I do. Because when it comes to you, I want it all. I don’t want to settle.”

“You have me, you do,” she assured me. She held up her hand and looked at me solemnly. “Scouts honor. I absolutely worship your insecure, needy self. I’ll even admit that it feels good to know that I can make you feel that way.” She smiled. “But you don’t need to be. Really.”

****

We walked into the Rosenberg’s house, and I shook her father’s hand. “Nice to see you again,” I told him.

“Good of you to come,” he replied.

“You shouldn’t wear black,” criticized Mrs. Rosenberg, plucking at the sleeve of Willow’s dress. “It makes you look washed out.”

“I think she looks beautiful,” I disagreed, and Willow smiled at me widely.

“We’re still waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive,” said Mrs. Rosenberg. “You can have a seat in the living room. Help yourself to a drink.”

“I think I’ll take him upstairs and show him my old room,” Willow announced, holding tightly to my hand.

“None of your things are in there anymore,” her mother said. “I cleared it out when you went to live with Bunny. No use wasting the space when I needed a home office. Your boxes are in the garage if you want to take them with you.”

Willow looked stricken. “Oh. Well, sure. I’ll do that.”

“Why don’t you help me in the kitchen and let the men get to know each other?” said Mrs. Rosenberg. She took Willow’s arm and pulled her away. She turned and looked at me, unhappily.

I followed her father into the living room. “So how long have you been dating my daughter?” he asked, sitting down on the couch.

I sat in an armchair across from him. “Just a few days,” I replied. “But we’ve been friends for a long time.”

“You seemed pretty intimate, when I saw you two together at the Bronze,” he observed. “I got the feeling you’d been doing a lot more together than dancing.”

Apparently, the polite getting to know you segment was over. “I love your daughter, Mr. Rosenberg.”

“And what are your intentions?” he said.

“I want to marry her,” I answered him. “I’m doing everything I can to get her to say yes.” I fumbled in my pocket. “I even have the ring,” I said, holding up the box.

“Why do you want to marry her? What kind of life could you give her?”

“A good one,” I defended myself. “She’d never have to work, if she didn’t want to. I respect her, and I’d treat her well.”

“You’re not Jewish,” he argued. “How would you raise the children? Would you convert?”

“I can’t have children,” I responded.

“So you don’t share her heritage and you can’t give her children,” he said flatly. “And your family? Have they met her?”

“I don’t have any family.”

“You’re a real prize,” he drawled sarcastically. “You’ve got a ridiculous name, and you don’t seem to bring anything to her life.”

My temper flared. “I make her feel loved,” I snapped. “That’s one up on you. She can’t even be herself around her own family. You don’t even know who she is or what matters to her.”

He stood up angrily, just as the front door opened. “Hello, hello,” called a female voice. “We’re here.”

We went into the foyer. A middle-aged woman who looked like a heavy version of Mrs. Rosenberg was holding the arm of an elderly woman in a lilac suit. “Who’s this?” asked the old woman.

“I’m Spike,” I greeted her, extending my hand. “I’m Willow’s boyfriend.”

She kissed both my cheeks and took my hands. “So nice to meet you,” she said with a warm smile. “I’ve never met one of her beaus before.” She smelled powdery and old, but she had Willow’s eyes, all green and gold. She patted my hands. “Och, you’re all cold.” She turned to her daughter. “Get Sheila to make him a cup of hot water and lemon. His hands are like ice.” She took my arm and led me to the living room. “We can get away from the draft. It’s no good, sitting near the front door.”

“I’m Linda, by the way,” Willow’s aunt introduced herself. “Nice to meet you.” She and Mr. Rosenberg hung up coats and walked into the kitchen.

“I’m Esther,” the older woman informed me, as I sat her down gently on the couch. “Willow’s grandma on the Klein side.”

“She looks like you,” I told her with a smile. “She has your eyes.”

She patted her hair. “She got the hair, too. I was quite popular with the boys, when I was young. Of course, poor Willow never was.”

“She does all right for herself,” I defended Willow. “She got me after all.” The old woman laughed and slapped my knee.

Willow came into the room. “Hello, Grandma,” she said with a big smile. She kissed her grandmother and sat down next to her. “How have you been?”

“Well, you know, my heart isn’t what it used to be,” she complained gently. “And my hip still bothers me since the transplant.” Willow nodded sympathetically.

The doorbell rang and Mrs. Rosenberg came out to get it. Several couples walked in, pulling off coats and talking loudly. “Everyone go in the dining room,” she ordered. “We’re running late.” She turned to Willow. “I need you in the kitchen.”

I helped Willow’s grandmother up and followed the crowd into the dining room, helping Mrs. Klein into her seat. I sat down at the far end of the table, while everyone else filed into their seats. A dozen pairs of eyes turned to stare at me. I straightened my tie and resisted the urge to look away.

“So,” said an elderly man. “You’re Willow’s date?”

“Yes,” I replied, sipping at my wine.

“What do you do?” asked another man who resembled Mr. Rosenberg.

“I’m independently wealthy,” I told him.

He raised his eyebrows. “How nice for you. And how do you spend your days, since you lead a life of leisure?”

I took a sip of wine. “I watch a lot of television.” He frowned. “And I read a lot.”

“What do you like reading?” he grilled me.

“Poetry, fiction, history. Bit of everything, really.”

Mrs. Rosenberg walked in. “We need to get the Seder started.” She set down a plate on the table that was already laden with several small dishes. Willow followed her out, carrying a bowl of hardboiled eggs. She smiled at me uncertainly and sat down next to me.

All along the table, everyone picked up the small books that lay on their plates. I picked up mine as well and opened it. The text was in both Hebrew and English, with woodcut illustrations. Ira began to read, his deep voice rolling out the rounded syllables of Hebrew. Each person read one section from the haggadah, some of them reading more fluently than others. Willow read her section clearly and distinctly. Everyone turned and looked at me as she finished.

“You can read the English,” she whispered to me.

“That’s alright,” I assured her. I began to read, faltering over some of the words, but doing as good a job as some of the other readers. I finished my section and looked up.

“Willow’s shaygetz reads Hebrew,” said her aunt in disbelief. Several people shushed her.

“My mother wanted me to become a priest,” I told them. “I can read Greek and Latin as well.”

After an uncomfortable pause, the cousin on my left began to read. We ended the readings and began the meal. Everyone chattered amongst themselves, talking over each other as people passed around platters and bowls of food. Willow handed me a casserole dish of sweet potatoes and pineapple, and then a platter of beef brisket. More food kept coming, until my plate was piled high. “Just keep eating,” Willow whispered in my ear. “You can’t talk if your mouth is full.”

I ate. I ate more than I had eaten in years. Willow kept refilling my glass, and I drank quite a bit of rich blackberry wine. I started to feel a bit sleepy, lulled by the alcohol. “So, Spike, how long have you and Willow been seeing each other?” asked an aunt.

“A few days,” I answered. “We’ve known each other for years though.”

“So you aren’t really serious?” inquired her mother.

“Well, I’m serious,” I told her. “It’s Willow who’s dragging her feet.” She kicked my leg, and I yelped.

“If you got married, would you convert?” fired back her grandmother.

“I’d do whatever Willow wanted to do,” I replied. “I just want to make her happy.”

“What if you had kids?” asked someone else. “Would you raise them Jewish?”

“I can’t have children,” I answered. There was an awkward silence, and then the sounds of people eating.

“You could always adopt,” Willow’s aunt said brightly. “And it’s probably better for Willow. She has such delicate little hips.”

I laughed and turned to look at Willow. She was bright red, and obviously very uncomfortable. “I like her hips,” I began, and she smashed her heel into my toes.

The phone rang, and Mr. Rosenberg got up to answer it. “Ignore it, Ira, its Pesach,” commanded his wife.

“It could be important,” he argued, walking over and answering the phone.

“Are you mad at me?” I whispered in Willow’s ear.

She shook her head. “No. I just feel like one of those animals that’s willing to chew off its own foot to get out of the trap it’s in.”

“Willow Danielle,” her father said angrily. Her head shot up, and I could hear her heart begin to pound faster. He shook the phone at her. “Xander is on the telephone. I told him that you weren’t available, but he insists on talking to you.”

She looked at me worriedly. We both got up and she took the phone. “What’s wrong?” she asked. She listened for a minute. “We’re on our way.” She hung up the phone and took my hand. “We have to go,” she said urgently.

“What’s wrong?” I asked her.

She turned to her family. “Spike and I have to leave,” she informed the crowd. “There’s an emergency we have to deal with.”

“You can’t leave now,” her mother protested.

“I’m sorry,” Willow apologized to her.

“Now just wait a minute,” her father said. “Whatever problem Xander is having, you can wait. You always did run after him when he called, like a trained dog.”

Willow’s eyes blazed green. “I really don’t have time to argue with you. So you’re just going to have to get over it.”

“But it’s Passover,” objected Mrs. Rosenberg. “It’s important that you’re here.”

“It’s important to you, not me,” Willow asserted herself. “I’m a witch, Mom, remember? You tried to burn me at the stake?”

Her father turned to her mother. “What?” he yelled.

“Let’s get out of here,” Willow said. We ran out the door and up to my car. “Give me the keys, you’ve had too much to drink.”

I handed them to her. “Want to clue me in on what’s going on, Red?”

“Anya’s missing,” she replied, turning the key in the ignition. “Someone knocked out Giles. He didn’t see who took her, but he found something at the shop.” She turned on the headlights and peeled out from the curb. “A syringe of cardiolis.”


Continued in Chapter 14


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