TITLE:  Temptation Waits

AUTHOR: Saz

DISCLAIMER:  Not mine.  Never was, never will be.

RATING:  PG-13 (Some sexual references)

SPOILERS:  Season 6.  Set before "Seeing Red"

SUMMARY:  Sometimes giving in to temptation is the hardest thing to do.

FEEDBACK:  Yes, please

EMAIL:  flotternz@yahoo.co.nz

NOTES:  This is my first Spuffy fic.  Unbeta'd.

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Temptation Waits

By Saz

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She would never have taken him for a snuggler.

Especially after each frantic coupling, accompanied by violence which got increasingly worse every time.  But every time, afterwards, both spent and exhausted, gasping for breath, he would move closer, rain soft kisses on her cheeks, shoulders, eyes.  He would pull her close; tuck her head under his chin and drift off to sleep with a soft sigh.

Every time she would wait for him to fall asleep before sliding out of his arms and hurriedly escaping.  She would run from the embarrassment of the woman she had turned in to – violent, heartless, empty.

Yet every time she knew her movement woke him, if he was ever asleep at all, that he watched her as she silently dressed and left.  He never once tried to stop her leaving, but she could almost feel his disappointment.

He loved her.  This bloodthirsty, heartless, soulless monster loved her.

For the life of her she couldn't work out why any more than she could fathom why she only felt complete with him.  How could a monster make her feel more like a woman than anyone and anything else?  How could he make her feel so alive?

This time had been no different.  It started the same way – with the jeering and insulting.  It evolved into a fight – punching, kicking, snarling, tearing.  It ended the same way – naked, gasping, spent – on the floor, a table, in an alley, sometimes in his bed.

Sated, he slides off her like so many times in the past.  He lies on his side, pulling her close, placing tender kisses on her face.  Tenderness was something she'd never attributed to him until they'd started this torrid affair, but she fought to deny that this was a sign that a man still existed under that cold, immortal, flesh, that this beast without a soul was capable as something as human as *love*.

She couldn't bring herself to believe it.  No matter how many times he told her, whether whispered during the throes of passion, or spat venomously in an attempt to infuriate her, she simply could not bring herself to believe because if she believed that, what did it make her feelings?  She couldn't love him, it was against everything she believed, yet *something* made her go to him time and time again, lose herself in him and the sensations that only he could provide.

But it couldn't be love.  It had to be something else, something she couldn't define.

Frustrated, she slides out of his arms, wanting to escape before the emptiness claimed her again, unwilling to stay the night unless her greatest fear came true – that she enjoyed the feeling of love, being loved.  Falling asleep in his arms risked that.  She couldn't fall asleep, she couldn't risk enjoying it, she couldn't risk that unfathomable feeling being what she most desperately denied.

Love.

She hears his irritable sigh as her feet touch the cold stone floor of his crypt and ignores it.  She hears him shift, the soft rustling of the sheets, but doesn't turn.

"Where do you go at six in the morning, pet?"

The sound of his voice makes her flinch; yet she still cannot turn to face him nor can she reply.  The sheets rustle some more.  He's sitting up.  She doesn't have to look to be able to tell that.

"Do you go home, to your empty bed?"

*How did he know?*

"Do you snuggle under your blankets and try to pretend that what we have doesn't affect you?  Try to pretend that I can't love you?  That you don't love me?"

For a change there's no mocking to his tone.  No anger.  Just pain.

"Does it make you feel better, pet, fooling yourself into believing that I can't feel for you, that I can't love you because I have no soul?"

His voice, pitched low, carries no contempt, no scorn, but his words hurt, searing deeper than anything anyone has ever said her.  She feels the tears pricking at her eyes as she bends to retrieve her clothing, but she still can't bring herself to look at him.  She hears him slide off the bed, the soft footpad as he moves towards her, stands behind her.

The tears begin to fall.

"All I'm asking is one night," he whispers, she can feel his breath on her shoulder.  His hand gently settles on her shoulder and he turns her to face him, hands moving to cup her face, wipe the tears from her cheeks.  "Let me prove to you that I'm capable of loving you, that I'm not the monster that you think I am."

For a moment she studies him, finds an emotion she has never seen on his face.  Sincerity.  Love.  Determination.

"Buffy," he whispers, an edge of desperation in his tone, "don't leave."

For the first time, she can't refuse.  Whether it be from the desperation in his voice, the look in his eyes, the deep down desire to love and to be loved again, or that he had never *asked* her before, either way she can't bring herself to say no.

Nodding, she lets him lead him back to the bed and to his arms, taking her first tentative steps to becoming whole again.

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Fin

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