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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.
DISTRIBUTION: Please ask my permission first, just so I know where it’s headed.
FEEDBACK: Sure, fire away to jodyorjen@yahoo.com



Chapter 15

I went to the kitchen and sipped a mug of blood as I dialed the phone. “Hello?” answered a cheerful voice.

“Hey, Clem. Hope I didn’t wake you up,” I said.

“No problem,” he replied. “I should get up soon anyway.”

“Can you do me a favor?” I asked him. “I need you to act as muscle for me for a bit. Tara and Willow need someone to look after them while I go take care of a few things. I don’t want Willow to feel like I’ve got a bodyguard on her, so just act like you’re here to visit Tara.”

“Tara’s there? With you and Willow?” he said, surprised. “Your love life is worse than ‘Dawson’s Creek.’”

I sighed. “Tell me about it.”

“I can be there in ten,” he said. “I’ll just grab a few things and head over on the bike.”

“Thanks,” I replied, and hung up. “As soon as Clem gets here we can get going,” I told Giles.

The phone rang and I answered it. “Spike?” whispered Buffy.

“Why are you whispering?” I questioned her.

“I’m at work,” she explained. “I don’t want to get in trouble.”

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“I need you to look after Tara,” she said. “I have to work, and so do Xander and Richard. Willow can’t do magick right now, and that leaves you.”

“Clem is coming to look after both of the Wiccas,” I explained. “I have to go out for a while.”

“Whatever it is can wait,” she said firmly. “There are big scary demons gunning for Tara. I’m telling you to stay put, Spike.”

My days of being at Buffy’s beck and call were over. “Piss off,” I replied. “I’m not your errand boy, Slayer.”

“I know that you must be upset with her,” she said. “But you must still have feelings for her. You can’t let anyone hurt her. You’re not that evil.”

I laughed bitterly. “I’m not that evil. That’s rich. Remind me to write that one down.”

“Just because she broke up with you is no reason to-“ she began.

“Look here, Miss Three Time Loser. Can the Dear Abby crap, will you?” I snarled.

There was a pause. “Don’t call me a loser,” she hissed. “You’re the king of the losers. Everyone who ever loved you dumped you as soon as they came to their senses.”

“Shows how much you know,” I said angrily. “I found someone who loved me enough to marry me, you patronizing, castrating, bloody slag!” I slammed down the receiver, and the handset disintegrated, scattering bits of plastic over the counter. “Fuck!”

“You really should work on your temper,” said Anya. “Maybe you should take up yoga.” I glared at her.

“She’s right,” agreed Giles. “You should find a constructive outlet for all your anger.”

“I think killing Hiram will be a nice start,” I said. “Smashing him into tiny splinters of ice should make me feel good and proper.”

There was a knock at the front door and I answered it, letting in Clem. “I called Dart, Lex and Reed,” he reported. “Dart and Lex are chasing down Hiram and Reed’s after bone boy.”

“You need to hire more muscle, you do it,” I instructed him. “And I want a couple of guys keeping an eye on the Magic Box. I don’t want anything else happening to Anya.”

“I’m on it, man,” he said, slapping me on the shoulder reassuringly.

“Willow and I got married,” I told him. “I need you to take care of her, Clem. She’s everything to me.”

He smiled. “Good for you, Spike. You deserve to be happy. Although, you settling down with a nice girl is bound to be one of the signs of the Apocalypse.”

“Hopefully not,” I said dryly.

We went into the kitchen. Giles and Anya were arguing bitterly. “My decision is made, Anya,” said Giles firmly. “There will be no further discussion of it.”

“I need you,” she said plaintively. “You’re the one that I can call and ask obscure questions. You’re the one who has the good contacts with the distributors. You can’t just abandon me.”

“I’m not abandoning you,” he said angrily. “None of you are children anymore. You don’t need me to lean on. I’m sick of playing everyone’s father, of being the port you call on in a storm. I’m tired of being depended upon.”

She looked hurt. “I never thought of you that way, Giles. I thought we were friends. I thought you cared about me.”

“I do care about you,” he said softly.

“Then don’t do this,” she said. “I like the way things are now. I don’t want them to change.”

He held her eyes for a moment. “I’m sorry,” he replied. “There is just nothing more I can say.”

Anya turned her back on him, her face tight with pain. She put on a smile when she saw us standing there. “I’m just going to talk to Willow and Tara before I go open the shop.”

“If you see anything suspicious, or feel like you’re not safe, you call me,” I told her. “I’ll have a few blokes looking after you, but you need anything, you let me know.”

She bit her lip nervously. “Usually I would say that I can take care of myself, but I guess I’ve been proven wrong on that one.”

****

Giles and I sat in an empty conference room at my bank. He regarded the cashier’s check in his hands, staring at it blankly. “What are you going to do with the money?” I inquired.

He looked up. “Go back to Bath and live on it frugally.”

“What a surprise,” I said. “Live a little. When was the last time that you went on holiday? Do you even remember how to have fun?”

He smiled. “It’s been a while.” He sobered. “But really, I can’t. I’m not in a position now to waste any of this money. I spent the last of my savings just to come back here.”

“What are you going to do in England?” I asked.

“Look in vain for another job, same as before,” he replied. “There aren’t many openings for librarians in Bath.”

“If you’re unemployed, what’s the emergency back in England that you have to get back to?”

“The what?” he said, puzzled. “Oh, right, the emergency. Family business.” He was lying, I could see it on his face. What had he said to Anya? *There are certain things in life one can’t change. No matter how much one might wish to.* He sighed. “Just let it rest, Spike. I can’t stay in Sunnydale. I have my reasons.”

I began to think that I knew what those reasons were. “I’m surprised you came,” I said. “I didn’t think you cared that much for Xander. You smashing him in the face kind of reinforced that opinion.” He took off his glasses and polished them on his sleeve. “What the hell was that about anyway? From the way you were talking you would have thought you were the fiancé.“ His eyes met mine, and I knew I was right. “You’re in love with Anya. You’re totally besotted with her, and it’s killing you to see her marry someone else.”

“Don’t be an idiot,” he said, putting his glasses on. “Absurd notion.”

“Does she know?” I asked. “Or are you just planning on standing by stoically while she marries Xander?”

There was a long pause and then he sighed. “There’s no point,” he confessed. “It’s just not meant to be. There’s no point embarrassing myself or her with these ridiculous feelings.”

“But she might return them,” I pointed out. “She and Xander have as much chemistry these days as a lump of bread. It’s all rote and routine between them now.”

“She loves him, and he makes her happy,” he said. “Just drop it, Spike.”

“But-“ I began.

“Shut the buggering fuck up about it, alright?” he said sharply, his face flushing with anger. “I’m at wit’s end already. I don’t need any more aggravation, I’ve been torturing myself quite well without your help.”

He looked away and composed himself. I handed him a second check, and he looked at it. “What is this for?” he asked, confused.

“I want you to give that money to Buffy,” I told him. “She’ll never take it from me, and I know she will from you. If she accepts it, she’ll be able to square away her debts and pay off the mortgage. If she doesn’t get that money, she and Dawn are going to lose the house.”

“Are you sure that it’s come to that?” he asked. I nodded. “What will I tell her, if she asks who it is from?”

“If she asks, just tell her it was something of Joyce’s that you discovered as her executor,” I told him. “Please just do this for me, Giles. For Joyce, and her girls. She would have wanted them to stay in the house. You know that.”

“You’re right, that is what she intended,” he said, pocketing it.

“I miss Joyce,” I revealed. “I loved her. She was so kind to me, when no one else bothered.”

“I loved her as well,” he said softy. “I wish I’d told her, but there never was a good time.” He looked down. “We dated briefly, you know. She was a truly wonderful person, but we didn’t pursue it. We were both so wrapped up in our lives, and we just let it slip away.”

“Well, think about that a bit before you decide not to tell Anya,” I said. “This time around, maybe it could work out differently.”

****

Giles and I walked down the street, sharing an umbrella as the rain poured down in sheets. “I thought it wasn’t supposed to rain in Southern California,” I said. “Lately it rains all the time.”

“It’s the Hellmouth,” he commented. “We should be grateful that it’s not raining down brimstone.” We walked past the Expresso Pump and in front of the Magic Box. The storefront was dark, the sign flipped to Closed. “Something’s not right. Anya should be here.”

Giles and I shared a look and we raced down the street, bolting into the car. I stomped the accelerator into the floor and drove home. We pulled into the garage and ran into the house. The front door was blown inwards, lying on the floor. Clem was lying near the sofa, unconscious. His wounds were bad, deep defensive cuts on his lower arms and hands. I gingerly felt the back of his head, and found a big lump that confirmed my suspicions. “Fucking Fyarl demons are a predictable bunch. Knock out the guy, steal the girl,” I said to Giles.

I went to the bathroom and returned with the first aid kit and a glass of water. I waved the smelling salts under Clem’s nose. He startled, and then sat up, moaning. “I’m so sorry,” he apologized. He looked at me, his eyes full of tears. “I let you down.”

“I’m sure you did the best you could,” I reassured him. “Did they take Willow?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I had Race and Lort in the woods out back, and Trevor out front. They must have killed him. But it wasn’t just the Fyarls; Hiram was here with bone boy too. His name is Largos.” I handed him two painkillers and a glass of water. “They broke in here and went for Tara. She threw some balls of energy at them. Hiram went for Anya.“ He shuddered. “He said some awful things to her and started strangling her, and she passed out. Then he started ripping my arms up with his icicles, right before he punched me in the head. I don’t remember anything after that.”

“God, we have to find them,” I said, trying not to panic. “I can’t believe that fucking bastard got his hands on the girls. He already raped Anya and tortured her.”

“Hiram was the one who raped her?” asked Giles in a deadly voice.

“Yes,” I replied. “The bastard got away before I could kill him. We have to find him.”

****

I strode through the doors of the posh office. Buffy sat behind a wide mahogany desk. She looked unbelievably perky in a blue suit, a headset perched on her hair. “Kelly, Rourke and Dunn, how may I help you?” she said cheerfully. “One moment please.” She pressed a button on the phone on her desk.

“Buffy,” I said as I stood in front of her.

She looked up at me, her eyes opened wide. “Spike, what are you doing here?”

“Hiram has Tara, Willow and Anya,” I explained. “You have to come with me now.”

She took off her headset and grabbed a bag from under her desk. “Just one second.” She ran into an office and came back out. “OK, let’s go.”

“I hope you don’t get fired from this job. I know how much you need this to work out,” I said as we walked to the down the hallway. “I wouldn’t have come if it wasn’t an emergency.”

“My boss is a friend of Richard’s,” she told me. “He’s totally cool about the flexible hours thing.” We stepped into the elevator. She began unbuttoning her suit jacket, revealing the silk tank underneath. As soon as the doors shut she slid the shirt over her head, leaving her covered only in her lace bra.

“Is there a reason that you’re getting naked?” I asked.

She glared at me as she pulled a black sweater from her bag and over her head. “I was afraid that this would happen,” she explained. “I brought a change of clothes, because I never want to fight a demon while wearing a suit ever again.”

Her skirt fell to the floor with a swish and Buffy stood there in a tiny thong, thigh high stockings covering her legs. I realized that I was staring, so I turned around. “Oh, please, Spike,” she teased. “I know you’re not shy.”

“Just got married this morning,” I said. “Shouldn’t be ogling another woman before I even have my wedding night.” She didn’t answer, so I just listened to the sounds of zipping and snapping.

“I’m dressed,” she said quietly. I turned around and she was wearing a leather jacket and boots and blue jeans, a large gold cross around her neck.

“Haven’t seen you wear one of those in a long time,” I said, gesturing to her necklace.

“It was a present from Richard,” she explained. “So you weren’t kidding earlier about being married?”

“Willow and I are handfasted. It’s not legal, but it’s a very real commitment to be man and wife for a year and a day. But if I have my way, we’ll have a legal wedding before very long as well.” I was seized by a wave of pain. What if we never got that far? What if Hiram had killed her, done to Willow what he’d tried to do with Anya?

“We’ll get her back, Spike,” Buffy assured me, patting my shoulder. “It’ll be okay.” She smiled at me, but it didn’t reach her eyes.

“You told me not to leave her,” I reminded her. “If I’d listened to you, this never would have happened.”

“Don’t blame yourself,” she said. “Just focus on the fight. We’ll kill them, a lot. It’ll be fine.” The elevator doors opened and we walked through the lobby. Giles was double-parked outside, smoking one of my cigarettes as he sat behind the wheel of the DeSoto. Clem rode shotgun, staring out the window. Buffy and I ran through the rain and into the car, barely getting the doors shut before the Wztcher peeled out and sped away.

****

“I really don’t like guns,” said Buffy, covering her ears.

Clem kicked the body of the Fyarl out of the way. “I’m done with hand to hand action for the day. I’m in the mood to blow big holes in things.” He slid fresh shells in the shotgun and cocked it.

We walked through the back door of the club past the office where Hiram had tortured Anya. The sound of screaming rang out loudly from upstairs, and the thuds and groans of a raging fight were straight ahead in the main part of the club. “You take the upstairs, I’ll take the big noise,” directed Buffy. Giles and Buffy ran ahead while Clem and I took the stairs.

A manticore popped around the corner and Clem shot his head off, a spurt of purple blood splashing on the wall behind him. The screaming got louder as we went down the hallway. I heard a grunt of pain, and turned to see Clem take a bat to the head from a brawny human. Clem wobbled. “Take him down, Clem,” I yelled, “I can’t hurt the bloody bastard.”

Clem pivoted and plunged a dagger in the man’s chest. Stunned, he fell to the floor, taking Clem with him. I leaned over. “Clem? You okay?” He groaned faintly in response.

The screaming began again. I ran down the hallway and through the door, stopping abruptly at the sight in front of me. A dozen bodies were scattered around the room, shriveled corpses of demons and humans. Tara crackled with purple energy, her eyes and mouth swirling as she sucked the life from the demon that she held in her grasp. He withered and shrank upon himself, his body becoming nothing more than a bloodless husk. A human man was huddled in the corner, frozen with panic, reeking of fear. She advanced upon him, the cloud of energy around her flaring even brighter as she drained him.

She turned to face me, and she was unearthly beautiful, her body glowing with the pulsing haze that surrounded her. She was the pinnacle of femininity, the apex of lust. I fought my body’s response, the thick haze of desire for her that was suffocating me. “I hunger,” she said clearly. “I must feed. I am not satisfied.”

“Leash your demon, Tara,” I told her. “You don’t want to do this. You don’t want to hurt people. That isn’t what you want.”

“I must feed!” she screamed. The nimbus of violet around her flickered wildly, growing stronger as she became more agitated. ”You are my locar! You must release me so that I may feed.”

“I can’t be your lover,” I said. “I can’t be that for you.” I trembled, my body bludgeoned with the sheer force of her will.

“You are my destiny. You are my fated one. You belong to me.” Her voice hummed oddly, a sizzling like electricity building underneath her words.

“I love Willow,” I told her. “And releasing your demon, that’s your worst fear. You’re too lost in impulse to think.” I struggled to stay in control and not go to her, tried to cast out the sexual images that flooded my brain as she beckoned to me.

“What my vessel wants is not important,” purred Tara, her words vibrating. “What the locar’s vessel wants is not important. There is only the hunger, and the feed.”

She rushed me, and I backed away, trying to stay out of the reach of her blazing hands. I let loose my demon, and her energy exploded, surrounding me in a firestorm. My demon left my body, becoming a separate entity, a misty creature of blood red. The impact was staggering, as the force that animated my body left me, leaving me paralyzed. A similar figure withdrew from Tara, leaving her unconscious as she toppled to the ground. I fought to stay alert as I watched the demons entwine above my head. “Joined,” they hissed as they coupled. “Mated.” Red and violet, they swirled together, flaring before my eyes as I slipped into oblivion.

****

I woke up to a gentle tapping on my shoulder. “Are you okay?” asked Tara, looking down at me worriedly.

“I’m fine,” I assured her. “Are you alright?”

She frowned and sat down next to me. “I feel really odd. Decidedly different.” She sighed. “It’s like some kind of horrible nightmare, and I’m just waking up.” Her eyes were glazed, her breath coming in short spurts.

“We survived,” I told her. “That’s the only important thing, pet.”

She started to cry. “I killed those people. I couldn’t help it, I couldn’t stop.” She wrapped her arms around herself as she sobbed.

“It’s not your fault,” I told her, rubbing her shoulders. “It’s your nature. You have no control over it, love.”

“Please promise you won’t tell anyone,” she wept. “Please don’t tell anyone that I’m evil.”

“I won’t, I promise. But you’re not evil,” I soothed her. “Your demon isn’t evil either. You’re doing what you have to do to survive.”

“I can’t live like this. I had all these feelings and thoughts, and they weren’t me,” she said. “Something else had taken over, and I wasn’t able to control what I was doing, what I was feeling.”

“The demon was in control,” I explained. “You have to learn to accept it, you can’t change what you’ve become.”

She shook her head. “There has to be a way. That other thing, that’s not me, not any me I recognize.” She wiped her eyes. “What I did to you, the things we did together-“ Her face clenched with pain.

“It wasn’t you, I understand that now,” I said quietly. “It was never really you, not after we kissed for the first time. My wanting you, desiring you, that’s what awakened your demon.” I pulled her into a tight hug and she rested her head on my shoulder. “I’m so sorry that I caused this, baby. If I could undo it, I would.”

“I would never do anything to hurt you,” she said. “I value your friendship, I really do.” She pulled away and looked at me earnestly. “I wanted so much for you to be happy, and all I gave you was pain.”

A loud boom resounded through the building. “Willow,” said Tara. “Willow summoned something.” Her eyes widened. “Something very powerful.” We rose to our feet and hurried into the hallway. Clem was headed towards us, his head marred with a large bruise. “I was just –“ he began, but we spun him around and went down the stairs. The three of us burst through the double doors into the main room of the club.

Willow stood side by side with a tall horned demon, his large eyes dark and serious. Her throat was bruised and her bottom lip was split and swollen. They stared straight ahead, looking grim. I went to her and took her hand. She turned to the demon. “D’Hoffryn, this is my husband Spike,” she introduced us. “Spike, this is D’Hoffryn, from the realm of Arashmaharr. I summoned him to give Anya back her powers. It was our only chance to survive this.”

The demon smiled at me. “You’re a lucky man to have such a powerful witch as your bride,” he said. “Although she really didn’t have to summon me with the amulet. I’m right here in town at the Sunnydale Motel. We have a group rate, for the wedding.”

I looked around, taking in the sight of demon corpses scattered everywhere. “Did you do this?” Tara asked Willow.

“Those two were my handiwork,” said D’Hoffryn, gesturing at two eviscerated bodies. “Really, there is nothing more offensive then men trying to intimidate women through pain and sexual threats.” His lips curled in disgust.

“Buffy killed the rest,” explained Willow. “She left to chase after Hiram. He slipped out right before Giles began conjuring.” She pointed up at the stage.

Anya and Giles stood in the midst of a circle of ash, both of them coated with a layer of gray soot. “You had no right to kill Largos,” screamed Anya. A cut on her forehead oozed blood, matting into her blonde hair.

“I had every right,” he yelled back.

“I have the right to seek vengeance,” replied Anya. “He violated me. He raped me while that fucking giant tortured me. They were bragging about it, Giles! He told me what they did.”

“And he paid,” responded Giles. “I blasted him off the face of the earth for having dared to touch you.”

She stamped her foot. “He was mine to punish, Giles! Willow summoned D’Hoffryn so that I could become a vengeance demon again. I want my revenge, and you took that away from me.”

“I did this for you,” insisted Giles. “You’ve moved beyond vengeance, you have a human life and the hope of an eternity of happiness. My soul is already stained with blood, Anya. Let me bear this burden, please.”

“Hiram is still out there somewhere,” hissed Anya. “I am going to make him pay, and pay, and pay for what he did to me.” She turned away and he grabbed her hand. She turned back to look at him.

“Please don’t do this, Anya,” he pleaded. “Please. I promise I will find him, and I will make him suffer.”

“What do you care?” she asked him. “Why would you do that?”

“Because I love you,” he said vehemently. ”I love you enough to want what’s best for you, and that’s not vengeance.”

She stared at him, stunned. “You love me? You’re in love, with me?” she said hesitantly.

“With every fiber of my being, “ he revealed. “I have never loved anyone the way that I love you, and I loved you enough to keep it to myself, until now.”

She looked at him for a moment, and then moved in close to him, resting her hands upon his waist. His hands clenched in her hair as he kissed her passionately, all of the emotion he’d been holding in rising to the surface. They held each other tightly and then broke apart, staring at each other. “It’s just too late,” she said. “Too late for everything.”

She turned her back and walked over to Willow and the demon. “Dearest D’Hoffryn, father of my heart, you who know me like no other,” she said seriously. “Grant me my dearest wish.”

He bent his head and kissed her gently on the forehead. “You shall have your vengeance, my child,” he promised. “Go forth, Anyanka, and do your will.” She bowed her head and he placed a pendant around her neck, the dark stone sparkling with fiery glints.

“Thank you,” she said, and raised her head.

“Once you are wed,” he said seriously, “then you may have your vengeance. At least leave your human life with the happy memory of one night in the arms of your true love.”

“But I have to find Hiram,” she insisted. “Buffy might not find him-“

He placed his finger on her chin. “I promise you that he will suffer at your hands,” he vowed. “Vengeance can wait.”

She looked at him seriously and then walked out. Giles watched her leave, his eyes hard. His jaw clenched and he moved to follow her. “Get in her way and she’ll destroy you, Mr. Rupert Giles, “ D’Hoffyn warned him. The Watcher nodded gravely and ran after her.

****

“I had the talisman D’Hoffryn gave me,” explained Willow, “And as soon as I could, I gave him a chant.” She rested her head against my shoulder as she took a big swig of beer. The hot water of the jacuzzi bubbled up all around us.

“It’s a good thing that the talisman was magickal,” I said. “If you’d done any spells when you were still so weak from last night, I would have kicked your ass.”

“Now that you married him he thinks he’s in charge,” teased Clem. He leaned back against the wall, resting his bandaged arms above the water.

“No harm in letting him think it,” said Willow. “We know the truth.” I dunked her head and she came up sputtering, wiping the water from her eyes.

“You’ve got your work cut out for you, Spike,” warned Tara, sipping a soda. “She likes being a bossy pants.”

Giles and Anya came downstairs, Buffy close behind. The girls both wore my t-shirts, and Giles wore a pair of boxers. “I always thought that you were a boxers guy,” commented Willow. She paused. “Not that I wondered about it much. I mean, not lately.” She smiled up at me, and I kissed her head.

They got in to the hot tub and Anya leaned against Giles’ shoulder. They both closed their eyes, looking exhausted. “Did you find Hiram?” I asked Buffy.

“No, I lost him,” she said. “But we’ll find him.” She looked over at Anya. “It’ll all work out, really.” Anya turned her head completely into Giles’ shoulder and began to cry. He rubbed her back, and rested his cheek on her head. “The bachelorette party awaits at my house later. You need to focus on the wedding and not on all this mess.”

Anya turned around and wiped her face. “You’re right, Buffy,” she said. “I should just focus on the wedding and forget about all this other stuff.”

“I hope you’re not upset that I took away your memories,” Willow said. “I really just wanted to spare you from going through all of this.”

Anya smiled. “You were trying to keep me from pain, because that’s what human friends do, and I appreciate that. I know you meant well.” She looked down at the bubbling water. “I’m going to head back to my apartment and unwind before the slumber party. I’ll see you girls later.” She paused and turned to Giles. “And I’ll see the rest of you at the rehearsal dinner,” she said brightly. “It will be lovely. We’re having a very nice salmon.” Giles stared at her and opened his mouth to speak. She stood up abruptly. “So I’ll just get going now.” She climbed out of the tub and rushed upstairs, with Giles following her, fast on her heels.

“We have to get them away from each other,” said Buffy decidedly. “There’s a whole vibe there that is really weirding me out.”

“He’s in love with her,” I explained. “He told her at the club, after he summoned the fire demon and took out Largos.”

The Slayer’s eyes widened. “Giles summoned a fire demon?”

“With the incantation and the protective circle and everything,” informed Willow. ”His technique was impeccable.”

“Giles summoning demons and in love with Anya,” Buffy said. “Wow. That really distorts my perception of reality, and not in a fun way.”

“Have a beer,” suggested Clem. “Everything is a little easier to deal with after a few beers.”

“I’m not a big drinker,” said Buffy, “but today has brought suckage to a whole new level.” Tara handed her a beer and she cracked it open, drinking deeply.

There was a loud banging upstairs, followed by two raised voices. “Wow, Giles is yelling,” remarked Willow. “He hasn’t yelled twice in one day since ever.”

“Do you think that we should tell Xander about all this?” asked Buffy.

“It really isn’t our business,” Tara pointed out. “I’m sure that he wouldn’t have said anything except for the circumstances.”

“He was going to head back to England without saying a word,” I commented. “The man takes a stiff upper lip to a whole new level.”

The argument upstairs kicked up a notch. Something smashed into the floor, hard. “Bloody well doesn’t respect you!” roared Giles, and we heard a resounding smack.

“That sounded painful,” said Clem, wincing.

“I appreciate that they need to get things out in the open,“ said Willow. “But I hope they’re not breaking anything. I don’t want to redecorate the living room.”

I smiled down at her. “It’s our living room now, isn’t it, pet?” I leaned down, gently kissing her upper lip.

”Get out!” screamed Anya. “Get out, get out, get out!”

“Sounds like Dawn,” Willow commented. “Only less high pitched.”

“Don’t know why she’s telling him to get out, though,” I said. “He’s the one that’s staying here.”

“She’s not really working in logic mode,” pointed out Tara.

There were loud footsteps upstairs and the slamming of a door. “I should pull myself together and go back to the office,” said Buffy, as she exited the hot tub.

“It’s already afternoon,” said Willow. “You may as well just chill out, take a little relaxing time. You’re always running around doing something.”

“I’ll have time to relax tonight,” replied the Slayer. “I have a lot to learn at work. I should get back to it.”

Tara looked thoughtful. “I need to take some time to think about what happened today. I think I’d like just to be alone and meditate.” She looked at me, and I smiled at her reassuringly. All of the Scoobies thought I’d killed the scum who’d taken Tara away.

“I can drop you at Buffy’s,” offered Clem. “I’m heading that way anyway.”

“Are you sure you don’t want us to drive you home?” asked Willow.

Clem shook his head. “Arms are healing up already. If I go home and take a nap, I’ll be good as new by tonight.”

I picked up Willow and stepped out of the tub. “You should get some rest too,” I said. “You were supposed to spend the day recovering from last night.”

“I’m fine, really,” she insisted.

“I’ll see you guys later,” said Buffy. “Will, don’t forget to pick up the cake on the way there.”

“I won’t forget,” she promised.

“Don’t forget to call and confirm the strippers, Clem,” I reminded my friend.

“Did we decide on the blonde twins or the redhead with the snake act?” asked Clem.

“We went with both.” I snapped my fingers. “Oh, and that Irish vampire who can do the trick with the bottle.”

Buffy and Willow stared at us. “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that,” said Willow.

I walked up the stairs. The living room was a mess, the front door still lying on the ground and smashed glass and ceramic on the floor. “I think we’re short one vase and one ashtray now, love,” I told my wife.

She focused for a moment, and I could feel her gather magick into herself and then rapidly expel it as she whispered a word. In a flash, all the damage was repaired. “Couldn’t leave the door like that,” she said.

I decided to let it lie and carried her down the hall to our room. I could hear the low murmur of conversation coming from Giles’ room, and then the sound of shared laughter, his rich and deep and hers high and clear. I closed the door behind us and took off our wet clothes, drying us off with a towel. We settled into bed and curled around each other, and I kissed the hollow of her neck as she stroked my hair.

“I am so happy that you belong to me now, “ she whispered. “Even when things were really awful, and I was so scared, I could feel you, and I knew it would be all right.”

“I’ll always be there,” I promised her. “My love.” I kissed her, and she moved her hands over my stomach, caressing my skin. I covered her chest with kisses, running my tongue over her nipples and in the delicate grooves beneath each breast.

“I want you so much,” she said, as she nipped at my neck and shoulders. I moved my head between her thighs and gently slid my fingers in and out of her warmth as I tongued her clit. She moaned and hummed underneath me as I coaxed her into a string of shuddering climaxes. Soon my cock was rock hard and weeping with arousal, and she was calling my name, pleading with me to take her.

I put my hands on her hips and sank into her, slowly taking her inch by inch. She sighed happily when I was in her completely, and wrapped her arms and legs around me. Our eyes locked as we made love, and the bond that we shared was so strong that it seemed nearly tangible, as real as the sky or the sea. She closed her eyes and shuddered as she came powerfully. Green eyes shined as she smiled, her face flushed and happy. Her hand moved across my lips, and then pressed my face to her neck. I changed and sank my fangs into her delicate flesh, sipping her blood as we thrust and moved together primally. A second release rocked her and I growled fiercely as I broke my control, pumping into her. The demon slid away and she kissed me, claiming my mouth as fiercely as I had taken her body.

****

The bachelor party was hopping. The strippers had arrived, and the guys from Xander’s crew were whooping appreciatively. Richard manned the keg in the corner, chatting with a dark haired vampiress in a tiny gold bikini. The only thing missing was the guest of honor. “Did you call his apartment?” I asked Clem.

“About a dozen times,” he replied. “I have no idea where he is.”

Giles walked over, beer in hand. “Do you think that Xander’s run into trouble?” he asked. “With Hiram on the loose, it’s a possibility.”

“I don’t think he’d go after Xander,” I replied. “But maybe we should go looking for him.” I called Buffy’s house and Dawn answered. “Hey, Niblet,” I greeted her. “Can you put my wife on the phone please?”

“I could,” she said. “If I wasn’t so mad at you for not letting me be in your wedding.”

“Handfasting was just Red and I, love,” I reassured her. “When we do the big fluffy thing, you’ll be part of the wedding party, promise.”

“Okay,” she said brightly, setting the phone down. A minute later, Willow came on the line. “What’s up?” she asked.

“Have you seen Xander anywhere, perchance?”

“No,” she replied. “Is something wrong?”

“Not yet. I may have to leave the house just to check up on him. If you can’t reach me here, you call Clem’s cell.”

“Okay,” she agreed. “Love you.”

“Love you too.” I hung up and walked over to Clem and Giles. “Looks like we’d best go looking.”

A shout arose as the front door slammed behind Xander. He walked in the room and his friends banged him on the back, teasing him about the wedding. He headed to the keg and got a cup of beer, then walked over to us. He was flushed, his hair mussed. “Christ, you’ve been shagging your brains out,” I said. “You reek of it.”

“No, I haven’t,” he denied, not making eye contact.

“Don’t bother lying,” I told him. “What the hell are you thinking, Xander? Demon girl is going to strip your skin off if she finds you’ve been stepping out on her.”

He smiled widely. “It would be worth it. I’ve never had such amazing sex in my life. I was with Thyla, the fairy from that Irish bar. She is phenomenal in bed, you can’t even imagine.”

“I took you home,” Clem said angrily. “You were supposed to sleep off the fairy beer.”

Xander shrugged. “I came to and went back,” he said. “She was still there, we went back to her place, it was fantastic.” He chugged his beer. “I don’t regret it for a second.”

“You are such a dumbass!” exclaimed Clem. “I told you not to eat or drink anything while we were at the bar. You’re faerie struck, and it would have faded quickly if you hadn’t acted on it.”

“When the enchantment wears off, you are going to hate yourself,” I informed Xander.

“Did you just forget about Anya?” asked Giles. “She was in mortal danger, missing, and you were off with another woman?”

“What can I say?” said Xander simply. “I couldn’t help the way that I felt.”

Giles made a fist and advanced on him, then abruptly turned and left. “You idiot,” said Clem. “He’s going to go tell Anya, and she’ll cancel the wedding.”

“She loves me,” he assured us. “She’ll understand.”


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