"As Long As You're Mine"
Though Glory is defeated and Dawn's status as the key voided, Buffy and Spike still have a ton of work to do cleaning up Sunnydale in the aftermath of the portal's opening. That doesn't stop them from enjoying the summer nightlife and the love they've been fighting to achieve for so long. While still working to gain Giles's approval of their relationship and be dependable guardians to Dawn, the Slayer and her vampire think they might finally have a year sans apocalypse… only they didn't count on a rogue witch and three annoying geeks, who are hell-bent on destroying their Hellmouth Ever After. M for violence, mild language, and smut.
Author's Notes: Sequel to "Five Words or Less", which I highly suggest you read first so you're not confused. All direct quotes from season 6 episodes belong to the talented and creative writers of Buffy. The title comes from the song of the same name in the musical Wicked.
Thank you Hercules8, xxtheTwistedSistersxx, Mirandaannw, SpaztasticalMaiden13, KittenofDoomage, Gravenimage, Mia Vaan, Neinka, EllieRose101, Obscurebookwyrm, helenlovesboo, Buffyfan72, ginar369, Da 0122, and TieDyeJackson for reviewing! I might not always respond to your reviews because of busy RL, but I love and appreciate them all the same!
Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy and Spike save an old couple from some muggers and get attacked by a pirate-speaking ice-sludge monster from the portal. They defeat it, but at the cost of Buffy's stylish attire… so she and Spike simply have to take a steamy shower together, and fall asleep in his bed.
Chapter 2: The Stash
They awake tangled in the sheets and in each other, the darkness of the underground chamber making it impossible to tell the time. Eyes still closed, Buffy wraps her arms around her vampire's chest, pressing her lips to the muscles above his heart, and he stirs with a light groan of contentment.
"Mornin', luv." His fingers stroke her back, gently tiptoeing down her spine.
"Sleep a'right?" Even though he still sounds drowsy, his voice takes on a sultry air, and one of his hands wanders down her arm, coasting across her skin and setting it tingling slightly. "Sore in all the right places?"
"Mmhmm. Very satisfied."
She nuzzles tighter to his side, and he takes the hint, resting his palms on her upper back, content to just embrace her.
"My humble accommodations suit you? No funny lumps in the bed that I haven't sussed out?"
"Extra comfy. This place is okay for a hole in the ground. You fixed it up."
"Well, I ate a decorator once. Maybe something stuck," he teases, brushing his nose against her sleep-tousled hair.
Leaning up a bit more, she hooks her chin over his shoulder, anchoring her head in the crook of his neck, her fingers now running up and down his smooth chest.
"I've been thinking about doing something to my room."
"Yeah, I think the New Kids on the Block posters are starting to date me."
"Maybe a bit," Spike smirks, hands tenderly cupping her shoulders. "I could offer tips if you'd like. Might end up with a bit more black an' scarlet in your room than you'd prefer, though."
"I was wondering about that." Buffy sits up and flushes at the look of adoration in Spike's eyes as he stares appreciatively at her. "Um, why the, um, non-vampy colors?" she asks, indicating the ivory sheets and honey-colored duvet, all soft and cloudlike. Spike grins.
"Wanted a change… Wanted a room I thought'd be worthy to bring my sunshine over to spend the night. It's not finished," he mumbles at the sudden shocked look on Buffy's face. "Still gotta finish the shower an' all, but this was all a cave when I started out–"
"No, it's not that," she gasps, rapidly smoothing back her hair and staring around for their abandoned piles of slime-covered clothes. "We… I… I spent the night."
"Yeah…" Spike's forehead creases with worry. "It's 'bout ten in the morning, give or take. What's the matter? Did I do somethin' wrong, pet?"
Her head whips back around, and at the sight of his utterly desolate expression, she covers her mouth with a hand.
"Spike… no, you misunderstand. This was great. I just shouldn't have left Dawn all night! What if… what if she didn't catch the bus?"
The stopped-up air in his lungs whooshes out in a sigh of relief, and he drops his head softly against her shoulder. "Had me scared there, luv, but there's nothin' to get worked up about."
"But Dawn has to–"
"Buffy, it's Saturday. An' besides, Red and Glinda would never let Niblet miss out on her fine education, bookish as they are. She's fine. They're all fine."
Giving a reassured sigh, she embraces him again, inhaling the smoky scent of his skin that sends a familiar heated thrumming throughout her body. She nuzzles his neck, teeth scraping slightly, and his head droops back with a rasping moan of longing.
"Not like there's much left for her to learn before summer break anyhow," Spike murmurs, his breath catching as Buffy squirms her legs around until she's sitting astride his lap. "Niblet's got exams next week, hasn't she?"
"I… I think so… We'll ask her later. There's a very naked vampire in this bed that needs attention."
He cups the back of her head in one hand and kisses her fiercely, his body almost crazed with renewed need. After a moment of reciprocating the kiss, Buffy ducks her head away.
"Mnn! Hang on, I have to brush my teeth, except… darn. I need a toothbrush here. And other girly cleansing things, like a razor and a bath scrubby."
"Luv," he chuckles, "you know I don't care whether you–"
Then she gives an audible shiver.
"You're cold!" gasps Spike. "Oh, god, baby, I'm so sorry!"
Sliding her off his lap, he swings his legs out of the bed and bolts for a pile of neatly folded blankets and towels by the shower, muttering to himself all the while.
"A'course she's cold, all bloody over again! Stupid underground cave with nothin' but a sheet and a dead idiot for a bedmate!"
Bring over two patchwork quilts, he unfurls them one after the other and spreads them over the bed, while Buffy just smiles glowingly up at him. Spike digs around near the small bookcase for a packet of matches and moves around the room, igniting candles.
"That any better, pet?" he asks on his next pass close by the bed, looking around desperately for more candles. Instead of answering, Buffy snags his hand and tugs him down beside her.
"Spike… when a girl is cold, she doesn't want the guy to give her his jacket or run off for blankets. She wants him, his arms… his body…" She draws her lips across his cheekbone to his mouth and lingers there, teasing his lips with her breath and the flicking tip of her tongue. "Spike… warm me up."
Another couple of hours later, sweaty and panting with satisfaction, Buffy shimmies out from underneath the sweltering blankets and dashes for the shower before Spike can pull her back into his arms again.
"Call Dawn and tell her we'll be home soon, okay?"
"A'right, gorgeous," he answers, lying back and grinning in love-drunk ecstasy.
"And don't gawk at me!" Buffy orders, her cheeks flushing pink as she remembers that the curtain-free alcove will do absolutely nothing to conceal her from her lover while she washes.
"Ooh, can't promise that, luv."
"At least turn your back while you're phoning Dawn, please?"
Stretching and rolling onto his stomach, Spike reaches for the phone and dials the number for the house on Revello Drive.
"Summers'," answers Dawn after a few rings.
"It's me, Platlet." He switches the phone to his other hand, purposefully avoiding the temptation to glance into the shower enclosure. "Big sis an' I just got up from restin'. We had a nice long lie in, on account of the nasties keepin' us up all night on patrol."
"Resting, huh?" asks Dawn dubiously. "And did any actual rest happen while you were resting?"
Spike snorts. "Bein' around Demon Girl so much has given you a dirty mind, Niblet. Thought Glinda'd counteract that. And no, when I say 'rest', I ruddy-well mean 'rest'."
"Okay," Dawn replies, her voice still teasing. "Tara's making pancakes for lunch. If you guys hurry there might be some left for you when you get here. Everybody's coming over so Giles can do his happy research dance."
"Ha! Wouldn't want to miss that. A'right, we shouldn't be too long."
At the faint click of Dawn hanging up, Spike returns the phone to its receiver, detangles his legs from the silky sheets, and pads across the room to dig clean clothes out of a drawer. By the time he tugs on his other pair of black jeans and a heather-grey t-shirt, Buffy comes out of the shower with a towel bundled around her middle, covering her from breasts to upper thighs.
"Hel-lo, sweet'eart," he murmurs with a lusty grin.
"Quit gawking! You're lucky I love you so much, mister!" she snaps, scowling playfully and searching the cave floor around the shower until she unearths her bra from beneath last night's towel.
"I really am, y'know."
"Lucky… honored, rather," he corrects, his voice softer but his eyes still intensely passionate. "That you love me."
"So much," Buffy repeats the emphasis, turning around so her back faces him and then slipping the knotted towel down to her waist. "Help me cinch this?" she brandishes her bra at him.
Spike groans huskily as he crosses to her, lifts the straps onto each of her shoulders, and anchors the two little hooks into their corresponding clasps. His fingertips linger on her waist, and he brushes his lips across her wet hair before pulling her close and gulping a lungful of her scent – that pervading essence of Buffy that goes beyond shampoo or shower gel or the sweetest perfume.
"Got half a mind to pin you right back on my bed, my temptress," he moans in her ear, holding her against his chest for a lingering moment. "But I'll be good, this time a'least. Can't go tuggin' me about, though. I've got my pride, y'know, the little of it that hasn't been hollowed out from bein' a white hat."
"Being a white hat has its consolation prizes," Buffy points out. She reclines her head back on his shoulder, grinning impishly. "Like me."
"If you're the consolation prize, luv, then I won the best bloody jackpot the world has to offer. An' what are you smirkin' 'bout now?"
"Well… your hair is all fluffy," she giggles, and he pulls away with an annoyed grumble. "And I just realized another problem."
She waits to answer until after he dunks his own face under the shower's spray for a moment, saturates his platinum curls, roughly rakes a towel over his head, and grabs his half-empty tin of gel.
"Well, pretty much everything else I wore last night is going to need a long wash on the 'global warming' setting," Buffy shrugs, indicating all the clothes she'd yanked off on the way to the shower, which are scattered on the floor, still crusted with the frozen goop. "So, unless you have some Buffy-sized jeans, we… what?"
"I… I might, actually."
Guiltily biting his lip, Spike finishes slicking back his hair, returns to the bed, and folds the duvet up on one side. From underneath the frame he tugs out a large cardboard box, and Buffy kneels on the other side of it, tucking the edge of the towel around her kneecaps.
"Before you ask, I didn't… do anythin' unseemly with the mannequin," he mutters, a barely perceptible blush on his pale cheeks as he pulls plastic limbs out of the box and shoves them into a corner, along with a long blonde wig. "I… I stole some lil' things, discarded stuff, here an' there, back when you were still… disgusted by me."
"When did you stop?"
"Right 'round the time Mum came home from hospital. Only… only nicked one or two things after that, when I was 'specially low, like that night we tried to make a go of it at the Bronze an'… it all went rather badly."
"There's… a lot of stuff in here."
"Yeah. Pictures, sketches, some clothes… just wanted to look at you, smell you… even though I could never have you. I'm sorry."
Struck by the shame and despair in his tone, Buffy reaches across the box of pilfered items and lifts his chin with one fingertip.
"You do have me, Spike. I never asked you to be perfect."
"Doin' my best. For a demon," he shrugs helplessly, sliding the box closer to her. "Are you angry, luv?"
"No… well, maybe a teensy bit. Now, if you'd taken Mr. Gordo, then you would've been in so much tr–… So that's where my blue cashmere sweater went!" She seizes the cardigan out of the box. "Dawn's gonna kill you! I thought she'd taken it!"
Spike hangs his head again. "S'pose I'll have to apologize to her too."
"You should, and so should I, 'cuz I yelled at her over it. Look at me, Spike… I'm not mad," she whispers when he lifts his eyes. "I can't really even say I'm surprised. And hey, it's better than this stuff getting lost in some vortex in the washing machine like I thought had happened. Now stop looking like I'm gonna send you to the gallows and give me a kiss!"
He almost crushes the cardboard box in his haste to obey her.
After exchanging much more than a few kisses, Spike helps Buffy put together an outfit from among the stolen items – which include no fewer than six pairs of lacy underwear, her two most threadbare sleep-shirts, some khaki slacks, a pair of cozy sweats with a hole in one knee, and three different pastel sweaters… and at the very bottom the handkerchief she'd used to keep her perfume bottle on before it had 'mysteriously' vanished.
Once she dresses, they gather up the rest of his loot as well as all their ooze-smeared garments in Spike's old duffel so they can be washed at home, then traipse out of the crypt. It's cloudy enough that Spike can walk outside unfettered by a blanket or tarp; he just hikes his duster collar up around his ears and strolls hand-in-hand with Buffy across the turf. They pass the part of the cemetery where they fought the pirate slime monster, but thankfully there's no residual puddle of goo marking the spot.
"It's always nicest when the demons clean up after themselves. Lugging gigantic bodies around is a major pain," says Buffy. "Do you think the Hellmouth absorbs them or something?"
"Like what, evil fertilizer?" Spike smirks. "Dunno, luv, but it's more than likely."
"I wonder what research Giles has dug up. He could barely find anything on Glory or her dimension until you and Xander stole that box from Doc, but I guess maybe he's been more productive than we have this last week. We've been the star panel at the Lazybones Convention."
"Don't go guilt-trippin' yourself, sweets. You had healin' to do, ribs an' all. We all did. Guess Watcher heals best with a piping hot cuppa and a book in front of him."
They slip in through the back door just before the noonday sun peeks its way through the clouds, and Buffy immediately flits around the kitchen to close all the blinds.
"Hi-ya lovebirds," Dawn grins at them, but then her eyes narrow, scrutinizing Buffy's slightly mismatched ensemble of sweater and tan slacks on such a warm, late spring day. "Hey… isn't that–"
"It is, but we're talking about it later," Buffy hisses, catching sight of the back of Giles's head in the living room. Last thing he needs is more ammo in the anti-Spike department. "I'm gonna change. Be back in a minute."
"Got it." Dawn flits around the island and sidles up to Spike. "You are in for some serious groveling later, mister. I got in major trouble over the thing we're talking about later."
"I know. Sorry, Niblet," he murmurs remorsefully. "Make it up to you when it comes exam-time, eh? Studyin' history?"
The teen rolls her eyes and lightly punches his arm. "Fine, I accept your apology. But-you-have-to-do-all-my-chores-for-a-month!-Okay?-Deal!-Bye!"
The last few phrases burst out of Dawn in a breathy rush, and then she pelts upstairs, giggling in self-satisfaction.
"Doesn't count 'nless you got it in writin'!" Spike calls up after her. Tara smiles at him from the stove, where the smell of pancakes wafts up to permeate the house. "Mornin', Glinda. Er… afternoon."
"Busy night? F-fighting demons, of course," she asks, taking butter and syrup from the fridge.
"Yeah, one creep in particular we're meanin' to speak to Watcher about. We slayed it, an' it slayed our laundry." He holds up the duffel. "I'll just nip down and do the wash, eh?"
"Sure. Willow just took our stuff out of the dryer, s-so it should all be free."
He slips past her and down to the basement with the bag of dirty clothes, and Buffy – now attired in more suitable clothing for the mild weather – traipses downstairs with Willow and a still-smirking Dawn.
"It talked like a pirate and spewed slime everywhere when I ran it through with my stake," she recounts as they reach the main floor. "Hey Giles! Have you heard of any dimension with pirate slime demons?"
He nearly upends his cup of tea in surprise. "No, I've never come across such a thing. Are you alright?"
"Yeah, completely fine. Spike was with me. All the ghouls had no chance."
"Well… we'll have to ask Anya when she and Xander arrive if she has any familiarity with such creatures. Incidentally, Buffy, have you encountered any of, um, Glory's minions since the battle?"
"Curious. Perhaps they were consumed in one of the earthquakes."
"Or they could've just skipped town, you know, now that Glory's missed her one-time-only shot at going home," Willow suggests.
"Spike still has Ben's ID tag," Buffy remembers. "I guess we could go over to the hospital and ask if anyone's seen him, and if he's there, we can ask if he knows what's happened to the sackcloth brigade."
"Yes, um, indeed. That may also be a possibility."
Giles sips his tea thoughtfully, and they let the subject drop. The arrival of Anya and Xander, plus the completion of Tara's chocolate chip pancakes, distracts everyone for a while, and Buffy shares with them all the adventure she and Spike had experienced last night – only without any parts having to do with the shower or his enormous cuddly bed. Once all the dishes are scrubbed, the gang gathers in the living room to hear Giles's update.
"Firstly on our docket, we have th–"
"Firstly?" Dawn splutters. "How many '-ly's are on the docket?"
"Not many," Giles replies, only slightly piqued. "As I was saying, there have been reports concerning mysterious sounds emerging from the old observatory south of the college. The building was decommissioned over a decade ago when the college had to scrub the astronomy department due to budgetary constraints."
"Which was a big shame, 'cuz we used to go there on school field trips," pipes up Willow. "There was a whole planetarium exhibit, and one time I saw Jupiter's moons in the telescope."
"Yes, thank you, Willow. At any rate, the building has been left vacant since the college abandoned it, as its location at the edge of town made it inconvenient to refit for other use. Our concern is the startling number of police reports that have been filed this week in reference to, um…" He checks his spiral notepad for the exact quote, "'screeching and wailing', and lights visible from the neighboring woods. If this was an isolated incident I would be more inclined to suspect that some vagrants had hidden in the place, rather than an supernatural involvement. But, seeing as there are now eight compatible reports, and given the date on which these statements began…"
"The night we fought Glory," Buffy surmises, without needing to glance at Giles's note sheets.
"Precisely," continues her Watcher. "It may be connected with the brief opening of the portal. We have no way to ascertain what other dimensions had temporary access to ours, or what may have entered. Thus, I think it only prudent that we inspect the building in question and determine both the cause of the reports and whether this is a matter we must resolve straightaway."
"Does 'precisely' count as another '-ly' on your list?" asks Dawn, picking at a fraying string on the corner of the living room rug and clearly bored stiff.
"Now really, Dawn," Giles sighs at her, then thumbs to his next page of notes. "There is also the matter of… the dragon."
All the young adults immediately sit up straighter, their eyes brightening with interest.
"Which, perhaps should have come first," he realizes, noting their sudden burst of attentive enthusiasm. "At any rate, it's been difficult to keep track of the creature, since spotters are unlikely to assume it is indeed a dragon, and therefore the eyewitness accounts are greatly varied. I caught one statement on this morning's weather report in which a man insisted he had seen a bat the size of a train car lift off from the old oak in his yard when he went to fetch the morning paper."
"Pfft! It wasn't that big," snorts Buffy.
"I should certainly hope not."
"Maybe the guy meant the full wingspan was that big, or a small train car," says Xander.
"The specifics are beside the point," Giles waves them to silence. "Regardless of its size, we are dealing with a monster of unknown origin, the strengths and qualities of which we have never before encountered."
"But… you have books on dragons, right?" inquires Anya. "I've seen a few in some of D'Hoffryn's dimensions, but none of them looked like the one that came out of the portal. Dragons and vengeance demons don't get along too well."
"Oh, not to worry, I have exhaustive resources on dragon varieties from untold dimensions. Simply hundreds of books pertaining to the – no. I have nothing. Nothing at all. Not a scrap of research that could help up capture or contain a fire-breathing beast."
"You gotta stop doing that, man," mutters Xander, who had squirmed uncomfortably at the idea of hours spent in droll research. Giles gives a small smirk and then hides behind his refreshed cup of tea.
"Did any of us see it b-breathe fire?" Tara asks softly. "I m-mean, we're calling it a dragon because that's the closest thing it looks like, but it might not be as dangerous as we think."
"Yeah, Tara's right," nods Buffy. "It looks like what we all think dragons should look like, but it might not go all Smaug the Magnificent on us. It could even be friendly, or… what's that word for non-humans things that can think and reason?"
"Rational?" Willow offers. "Or sentient, maybe."
"Yes! Both. Maybe it can communicate."
"Dunno, pet," shrugs Spike. "I'm all for hopin' it'll play nice, but if it's anythin' like that Queller demon space-freak, the only communication I'll be after is askin' it to please kindly suss out its softest bits so I can stab it."
"Be all that as it may," Giles says in a raised voice, trying to restore order amidst all the brainstorming, "it's highly unlikely that local animal control or in fact the Sunnydale police force have the capacity to deal with this creature, even if it is sentient. Therefore, the responsibility falls to us… er, to Buffy, more specifically."
"Duty calls, Buffster," grins Xander. "So G-man, when should we check out the old observatory?"
"Tonight, I recommend. The last reported sighting of the dragon-like beast is, quite conveniently, in the woods adjacent to the observatory. We may be able to resolve both situations, or at a minimum obtain what information we require as to how to next proceed."
"It just figures that they'd be buddies," Buffy huffs. "What's next? A portal demon pep rally?"
"Buffy, really, this is no joking matter. We are not aware of the creatures' capabilities, neither this dragon nor whatever is causing a disturbance in the observatory."
"Can I come see the dragon?" asks Dawn.
"No!" everyone else answers without pause. Dawn folds her arms grumpily.
"Fine. Who's stuck babysitting me?" she pouts.
"We will!" Anya volunteers. "You can come over to Xander's! We found a new board game to try, called Clue. Though I don't think I'll like it as much as Life, since there doesn't seem to be any money involved."
From across the room Xander shrugs happily, love for his girlfriend – now his fiancée – shining in his eyes. Buffy sneaks a glance at Spike, and in his cobalt gaze is the same intense and tender devotion, leveled unwaveringly at her.
To be continued…