Should Have Known Better

By Sweetprincipale

A sequel to Sex and Candy and See You on the Flip Side. Set during S. 5, beginning at the end of the episode "Listening to Fear" and goes off cannon.

Author's Notes: Deep, but will be smutty and Spuffy. (Lots of introspection in the first chapter. Don't worry. Smut happens soon.) Had several people tell me they thought See You on the Flip Side needed a sequel, and goodness knows I liked the idea! Hope you all enjoy, read and review!

Direct quotes from songs and shows are obviously not mine but belong to the enormously talented people who created them.

Dedicated to Hannah the Bloody, Lithium Reaper, Idiosyncratic Delusions, and Msnycegirl0820

Nothing of Buffy belongs to me, except my sincere admiration. However, this story is all mine.

Part I

It was bloody stupid, he realized that. Soldier Boy was still around, the kid sis was home, Joyce was home an' not her best at all, at least not from what he'd seen when they walked her into the house. And he wasn't there for another quick shag with his "enemy with benefits". He shrugged uncomfortably inside his coat and flicked another butt from his hand. Reluctantly he left the shadows of the oak tree and made his way to the back porch, lightly opening the kitchen door.

She was sobbing, loud salsa music blaring to cover the noise. Give way when you're alone, he'd said, because that was the only time you didn't have be the strong one for the rest of the gang. She was taking him seriously, shaking sobs bending her into the sink as she washed a few dishes.

Last night, he'd tried to leave her to get on with her grieving, knowing about the whole hero bit, the 'gotta do it in private' bit. An' he'd ended up stayin' again, 'cause, as she so wisely put it (bloody hell, never, ever thought he'd hear himself describe Valley Girl as "wise") "I am alone. When you're just with a reflection of yourself, you're not really with anyone, are you?"

He'd ended up in her bed again. Worse. Slept there, all night, even woke up with her, didn't scoot out the door before she could see him. That would've been smart. Maybe a bit on the bastard side, but he prided himself on his jerk-like qualities. When her eyes focused in the half light of early morning, she looked terrified and upset- but with herself. Mildly pleased with him. "Thought you would have taken off as soon as I was out." She whispered.

Should have done. What kind of soddin' fool sleeps in front of his most likely killer, knowing the room is loaded with sharp sticks just made for vamp removal? A fool like him, apparently. Or maybe a man who realizes the enemy isn't really a threat anymore. "I'll be on my way." He'd brushed her shoulder lightly. "If you're gonna be okay? With your mum an' all." He added hastily. Because that was why he was feeling...some goddamn annoying emotional softness towards the girl. Simple sympathy, nothing more.

"I'll be fine. Thanks for stopping over to- to see how she was."

See how all of them were. It was bloody stupid. He wouldn't be hanging around there anymore, though. Too risky. He knew better, you can only push a "one time deal" so far before it snapped.

So why had he been outside her house? Why was he now slowly walking over to the sink?

She sensed him with a gasp and spun a blue plastic cup out in front of her like a weapon, showering him with a splash of sudsy water. "Oh, geez, Spike! You could get yourself killed, sneaking up on people like that!"

"Sure, Luv, death by Tupperware, happens all the time." He tried not to laugh.

"Well, I'm- I could've been washing the wooden spoons and then- poof!"

"Yeah, suppose so, or you coulda been washin' with holy water."

"Why are you here?" She put her hands on her hips, anger replacing the tearful panic that had been on her face when he entered.

"Isn't it obvious?" Calling her wise might have been a stretch...

She blushed. "We can't get into a habit of this." She bit her lip.

"I meant, to check on your mum." She blushed deeper and looked annoyed with herself. Normally, he would have relished that, loved to see her and her self-righteous ass taken down a peg. But she hadn't been too bloody self-righteous lately, actually been... almost nice to him. Civil. Friendly, if such a term could ever apply to them. So his lips pushed out the phrase "Came to check on you, too."

"Thanks." She wiped her red eyes roughly. "Uh- she'd like to see you, God knows why- but she can't. Sh-she-" She swallowed hard. "That thing in her head... They say it progresses quickly."

Suddenly he was back in a darkened drawing room, smelling faintly of pipe tobacco and strange patent medicines, turpentine and mentholated spirits all of it.

It progresses quickly. The coughing may become worse, and then the breathing. Try not to let her tire, keep her from overexerting herself. A frock coated doctor, a hushed conversation, a bravely smiling woman waiting in the next room...

He brought himself back with a jolt. "What's that mean then?" He listened for Joyce, head cocking subtly towards the upstairs. He could hear her babbling, nonstop, insistent, argumentative. Heard something else, muffled crying, prob'ly from the girl. His gut gave an uncomfortable twist.

"I don't know. It was like- it was like she didn't know us." She doesn't know Dawn, because Dawn's hasn't really been with us, not really real. But she is really ours. "Or when she did, she didn't make sense." Her chest heaved once, sob threatening to well up. "She said I was fat."

"Oh, come, Slayer, don't cry over that, you're a thoroughly pretty piece of flesh." He smirked lecherously.

"No! Ass." She slit her eyes for a moment, then looked at him with a crumbling face. "She's always trying to get me to eat. Always- you know moms- food equals love."

Are you sure you've had enough, William? You haven't even had one of the tarts, and Mrs. Edmunds does fuss over them so. A pale hand holding a tray out to him, a hand that started to shake with weakness the further along the illness progressed...

"Yeah, reckon they do think a bit like that." Spike smiled faintly, nodding. "So, she's not quite all there?"

"Don't say it like that! She's all there! She's all here! She's just- h-hurting." Sobs were back, and he was back, holding her, wincing inside. "I need her! I need her to handle this, I can't handle this. It's the real life stuff I'm bad at, Spike! I'm good at fighting, and I can't fight this!"

"I know. I know, I know." Whispered over and over again, telling her as much as himself. He wasn't saying anything else, because he didn't have any words to tell her it was all going to be okay, or advice on how to fight it.

"I'm sorry." She snuffled. Oh, great. I'm all wet and drippy, and my nose is running now. Some all powerful "Chosen One". "Sorry." She sniffed in hard.

"Me, too." He patted her back, turning into rubbing, mind sending a little reminder that he was supposed to be cold and harsh with her. Sod off, he told the reminder. She's soft, and warm, and she's damn fierce when she's not worryin' over her mum. An' we all have mums that we worry over. Even Dru, round the bend and so far gone, fractured and fragile as her bloody dolls, cried for her mother and little sisters every so often.

"Do you want to get one of your mates in here? Give you hand?"

"They're on patrol tonight. All of them." She unconsciously avoided saying Riley's name. Riley was the unspoken guilt she carried, and felt less guilty each time she realized Spike knew her better than her "boyfriend". "I have mom-duty, I made sure that-" A muffled shriek ended her thought in mid sentence. "Mom!" With wide eyes, she tore away from him, dashing towards the noise.

He hesitated in the kitchen. He was pretty damn sure he wasn't supposed to be the house just now, that people might ask one too many questions. He was also sure that Buffy'd kill him if he caught her mum wandering around, not in her right mind, in her unmentionables or something. Last thing he was sure of- Dawn was screaming, and it wasn't stopping. "Damn..." He groaned, and ran towards the stairs- only to be confronted with a huge, wriggling black bug.

"Argggghhh! What the bloody hell is that thing?" Spike shouted and flailed as it landed on him. It turned its caterpillar like body and he saw a face, a ghastly corpse-like face with beady red eyes and a foul-breathed, toothy mouth. "Ugh!" He shoved it off, and it fell with a rattling scream, slithering.

"Spike!" Buffy was chasing it down the stairs, panting, stumbling. "It was after my mother!"

"What in hell's it want with your mum?" Spike lunged for the wriggling creature as it scuttled away with unbelievable speed.

"Where'd it go?" Buffy pushed her hair out of her eyes as she landed on her hands and knees at the bottom of the stairs.

"Slippery bastard!" Spike shouted, trying, and failing to keep hold of it as it scurried under the dining room table, knocking over chairs, rattling dishes on the sideboard. "Get your mum out of here!"

"She's locked upstairs with Dawn." Buffy panted, rushing to the other end of the table, hoping to cut it off as Spike chased it to her. It was going to die. She was going to kill that hideous thing. Things that tried to take her mother, hurt her, sneaking in where it was safe, in her house, in her brain... "No one messes with my mom." She hissed.

With a choking squeal, the beast stopped its rapid dragging as it neared Buffy, just out of Spike's grasp. It lunged, launching itself hard onto Buffy as it reached the end of the table where she waited to confront it. She fell back, the creature fixing its small arms around her shoulders as she struggled to push it away.

"Buffy!" He tackled it with her, but this time it had dug its small clawed feet into the Slayer's shoulders.

"Get a knife!" She gasped as she worked to dislodge it.

Spike shoved past her, into the kitchen, retrieving the largest knife from the butcher block, and tossed it to her, crying her name and hoping slayer reflexes and vampire accuracy would let the blade land where it was supposed to.

With a sudden heave, she rolled, and the creature took the blow in its hard, black exoskeleton. Her hands jerked up, found the handle and plunged the blade in again, and again, each time eliciting a higher, fainter squeal.

Spike bent and threw it off her, helping her up, knife falling from her suddenly boneless, shaking grasp. "It can't hurt her. I killed it. I saved her." She rasped, allowing him to take her hands and haul her up.

"You did." He assured, giving her a flicker of a tired smile. Ugly bugger, init?" Spike nudged it with his foot, making sure it was dead. If it wasn't dead, it was doin' a damn fine imitation, so he left it.

"Uh-huh." She panted, leaning on him, hands still clasped around his wrists.

He shouldn't stand so close to her. Had her once, left her alone for months an' months. Then he'd been with her two nights in a row, and suddenly his body didn't listen to him anymore. She smelled so good after fighting though, blood just flying through her, and fear, well, slayer fear had been one of his favorite scents in the past. He still quite liked it, even though now he was starting to find it made him feel queasy. But sweat, and a hint of fear, fading now, plus the rush of blood... he inhaled and swallowed, remembering the sweet tang of her blood flowing down his throat. Willingly given, it seemed even more delicious than when it was stolen. He shook his head to clear it. Sod. Didn't work. He inhaled and swallowed harder.

She just wanted to let him tighten his grip on her, hold her in that almost painful grasp, make her forget, just for five seconds. Or that feeling he gave her, that French-sounding thing, the little death- she wished he could give it to her now, just five seconds' peace...

She's not movin' away. Bloody hell, she's movin' closer!

He's not letting go. He's all wide eyed and gulpy... He's looks so good sometimes. Like now... when his eyes are starting to close. All smoldering...

The front and back door burst open simultaneously and the house was filled with tramping feet and shouting men. Riley, clearly in command, or at least given charge, was the first in the front door- almost smack on top of the couple.

Why are they holding hands? Why is she leaning into him like that? Riley forgot to shout any orders, standing there staring, breathing heavily.

Buffy looked up abruptly, eyes bugging, and mouth dropping.

Spike gave him a disgusted look, eyes closing and letting out a long exasperated breath. He dropped her hands, but Buffy remained close to him.

"That's it, sir!" Two soldiers were suddenly on their knees beside the dead demon, bagging it in a thick haz-mat bag with U.S. Army insignia.

"Is this- Initiative?" Buffy asked in a tiny whisper, not moving from in front of Spike.

Jesus effin' Christ, is she gettin' between me an' the boy? Is she actually- worried they're gonna try to take me back to chip central? In spite of the mounting panic he was feeling when the soldiers swarmed close to him, Spike stiffened his spine and looked Riley straight in the eye.

"Regular Army. Special Forces Detail." Riley found his voice, moving closer to her, one arm outstretched.

"Mom!" Buffy seemed to wake up, and pushed past both men and sprinted up the stairs, not giving either of them a backward glance.

Left alone, relatively speaking, as commandos swept the house with geiger counters and who knows what else, Spike let out a hiss and glowered. "You just missed a real nice time, mate."

"Why are you over here, Seventeen?" Riley glowered back.

"I'm a girly magazine, am I? Gonna call me a nickname, call me Hostile, wouldja?" He shifted his neck inside his collar. "Suits me better, don't you think?"

"Answer me before I have them bag you, too." Riley threatened, fists clenching.

"I don't think the lady of the house would be too happy with you if you did that, Sgt. Paranoid." Spike lit up a cigarette, slowly, carefully meandering to get his back to the door- and therefore the fuck away from these army goons before they decided to dissect him.

Riley's hand shot out and pinned Spike to the wall. Around them, soldiers finished their sweep and left, one of them calling for Riley to move out. "Go without me. I'm not part of this unit. You've got what you came for." He redirected his full attention to Spike. "Why?"

"Came to check on her mum." Spike wriggled, hating, beyond hating, that he couldn't push off the larger, but weaker man without earning himself a migraine that'd fell an ox. Can't dish the physical pain, dish the emotional. With a cocky grin, tongue curling behind his smile, he asked, "You got some reason to suspect anything more? She didn't call out the wrong name in bed, did she?"

His nose broke and his head indented the wall behind him, glass shattering as a photo of Buffy, Dawn, and Joyce crashed to the floor. "I'm the one who loves her, Spike. She doesn't love you. She doesn't even like you!"

"That's true." He gasped, spitting blood. "Can't say as I love her, either." Only in a soddin' dream did I ever say it. An' she never said it back. He smiled and swallowed the blood still pooling in the back of his throat. "Can't say that she loves you though, can we?" The next punch cracked at least one rib, maybe more. The smart thing would be to let it go, shut up. But these goons had cowed him once before, and he couldn't stop himself. "You have a lot of extra energy tonight, beating up a defenseless man." He panted painfully. "You have some frustration left to work off, White Bread?"

"Buffy!" Dawn's shrill cry broke Riley's hold, his fingers flying apart with a guilty start. Spike fled out the still open front door.

Buffy left her mother's side reluctantly. It had been so nice to hold both Dawn and her mother for a minute, to feel like she'd kept them safe, that she'd won. But Dawn wanted to see them taking the creature away, she needed to see it was no longer there, hiding in the house waiting to attack them.

Buffy reached the top of the stairs, putting her hand on Dawn's arm. "Dawn, go stay with Mom, she's gonna shower the demon spit off of her- holy crap, what happened to the wall?" She broke off her directions with an irritated yelp.

"Spike and Riley had a fight." Dawn sounded shaken, near to tears. She'd been traumatized in the last two hours by her mother's odd behavior and vacant stares, then in the last ten minutes with trying to fend off the nightmarish worm, and lastly by coming down to see Riley punching a blood covered Spike. "Mom's sick! Can't you save this for later?" Dawn glared at Riley. He opened his mouth to apologize, but shes spun on her heel and stormed away.

He directed his comments to Buffy instead. "I'm sorry. How is she?" Riley bent and began picking up pieces of glass.

"She's fine. She isn't fine fine, but she's alive and the only thing that happened was she got a major scare and covered in monster drool. Now that thing's dead. The surgery is tomorrow morning..." She swallowed back the rising pain in her throat. Not alone yet, wait until you're alone to cry.

"Thank God she's okay. This thing just killed the entire population of Sunnydale's Psych ward. Good thing Willow told me about your mom." Riley winced as he picked up the newly scarred family photo, dented from where glass had snapped inside the frame.

"You- you knew this thing was coming here?" Buffy asked slowly, picking blood stained glass carefully off the floor.

"I put a few things together." Riley began to relax. The good guy rides to the rescue. So the bad guy was here first, it's the thought that's gonna matter. We're gonna be okay. Spike just had to bust my chops, it's all he's good for now.

"You couldn't have called me for ten seconds? To tell me there was a threat to my MOTHER?" Buffy rose, feeling tall and terrible, even though Riley towered over her when he stood as well.

"We had to react, we tracked, I tipped them off about your mom, we rode!"

"When did you figure it out?" Her voice was softer now, eyes shying away.

"About twenty minutes before we got here." He put a hand on her shoulder, only to have her shrug it off, taking a small step backwards.

"That's about ten minutes more that we had." She whispered coldly, eyes hard and bright when she looked at him. " And why- why tonight of all nights, would you get into it with Spike?"

"What makes you think I got into it with him?" Riley demanded angrily.

She stalked to the wastebasket and dumped the glass in her hand."Because Spike-" Because Spike cares about mom, and even me- temporarily. No, Spike's a jerk. He is the royal high crown prince of jerks, of course he would start something. Army guys send him over the edge. No, that's an excuse, he'd do it 'cause he loves to be a pain in my ass.

" Never mind. I'm sorry, you're right. What did he do?" She sighed and crossed her arms, giving him a hesitant smile.

"He wouldn't tell me what he was doing here. What was he doing here?" He asked pointedly, rubbing her arms as soon as he dumped the glass and wiped the blood from his hands.

"He came to check on Mom."

"He said that to me. You believed that?" Riley looked at her in open disbelief.

"I thought you said he wouldn't tell you?" Buffy looked puzzled in return.

"He didn't want to tell me."

"But- my mom likes him, he likes her. In a totally Twilight Zone kinda way. He wouldn't mind you knowing that." Buffy's puzzled look soared. "Then what happened? I mean, you wouldn't have blood all over your hand if that was the only issue." I hope.

"He wants you, you realize that, don't you?" Riley dropped all pretenses.

"Say what?" Buffy's eyebrows slammed into her hairline at that one.

He couldn't repeat the hints, the suggestions of the pale vampire. The fact that he'd let him engage in that kind of back and forth was just stooping to his level. He was above that. "He wants you. He makes comments, he looks at you in ways that he has no business looking at you."

I want him, too. Sometimes. When he's here. Not when he isn't. She shook her head vehemently. "It's Spike. Riley, want me or not, I pick my boyfriends. Spike is not that." Enemies with benefits was completely different, and a one time thing. That just happened to happen two extra times... And never would have happened in the first place if my actual boyfriend actually paid attention to more than my outside appearance. If he didn't miss the fact that some bitch in my skin was acting the exact opposite of me! It's still wrong. It'll never happen again.

"So you actually believe him? That he came to see your mother?"

"Yes, I do." With all her heart, she did. Sometimes, you just knew. If it had been reversed- she knew her actions would mirror his. Her flip side.

"Buffy, you can't be serious!"

"Everyone has a mother, Riley." She replied in an arctic voice.

"And Spike would rip his own mother to shreds if he had his chip out, and your mother, too."

"No. He wouldn't, Riley." She huddled inside herself, thinking about the man who pushed her away a few nights ago, lost in grief and memories, who she reached out to. They had comforted each other... Just some comfort, wrong, but much needed.

"You don't know that."

"I do. For now."

"Because he's chipped."

"Because everyone has something they care about!" She shouted suddenly.

"He's deluded you, he's done it before. This must be how he got the other two."

"I know how he got the other two." She whispered harshly. He taught me how -he showed me, he told me. He told me exactly what I needed to know to stay alive- or realize why I'll get killed. Why would he do that? To try to protect me in some deep down, unconscious way?

But Riley pressed on, agitation in every line of his muscular bulk. "You're his third slayer, Buffy. Didn't he come here years ago just to kill you? Do you really think he's just hanging out around you unless he wants you dead? Unless he wants something else, some other trophy, since he can't kill you with that chip in his head?"

But he already got the other thing, the "something else". And he comes back anyway. He didn't get anything from me tonight. Buffy blinked, as if slowly realizing something. "Riley. Sometimes you just know a person. I can't trust Spike about- well- almost anything in the world. But I do know that was why he came tonight."

"That's just stupid." Riley shook his head as she opened her mouth. "Not you, Buffy, but trusting him at all. It's not smart. You can't know him like that."

"I don't think you'd understand knowing someone." She whispered, swallowing hard. "I have to go. There's a floor to clean up. And my mom needs her medication. Dawn needs some sleep. The operation starts early tomorrow." She turned from him.

"I'll be there for you."

No. You won't really. But you'll come to the hospital and sit next to me. And that's what a good guy does. It's the bad guy who comes to me in the middle of the night to check on her, or makes her cocoa at the crack of dawn. But you're the good guy, and you'll do the best you can. You always do the best you can. It's not his fault I want more. She gave him a grateful smile. "Thanks, Riley." But I don't really want more. I just want him to recognize who I am, know me. That's so simple...

Riley gently stroked her hair. "I only say things because I worry. Because I care- because I lo-"

She hugged him hard and kissed him harder, blocking the word before it released. "I have to go take care of them. Tomorrow?" She nodded towards the second floor.

"Tomorrow. Go take care of things." He let her go, hope fluttering slowly in his soul. He slowly walked away, hearing the door close and latch behind him. "Tomorrow, I finally get to take care of you."

He had to walk home, now that the army vehicles had left. He was full of strange regrets. He should have phoned. He should never have lied to Willow, or Buffy, about the exact nature of how he found out about or handled the Queller demon. In all the distraction of the trouble with Joyce, that wouldn't be brought to light, not for weeks, maybe not ever. He shouldn't have hit Spike, let Spike rattle him. Make him doubt, with his insinuations.

She didn't hate Spike anymore. Spike. Images of the sinisterly smug vampire stung him. There in the morning, in her room. There tonight, practically chest to chest with his girlfriend. His girlfriend! Cocky threats and hints about what Buffy needed or wanted. He couldn't know? Could he, not really? She'd dated a vampire before. She claimed that the vampire he'd met, that Angel guy, was good, had a soul, was only riled up. Hah. If that freak, who took out a small patrol single handedly, was her definition of good, of the love of her life... he swallowed painfully and headed towards the worst part of town. Got to find it. That monster for her man.

No. Not even that. I'm not even doing this for her... he waded through the dankest alley ways, unafraid, sure where he was going. I need someone to need me. I want that. What she's having. If she won't give it to me... He ignored the reclining couple on the couch of the trashed warehouse and headed upstairs. There's a rush of having power. Being something that everyone wanted. Spike wanted.

Two voices. Two used pillows. She likes you, but sorry Charlie, you're just not dark enough. Can't say that she loves you though, can we? He closed his eyes but couldn't stop the swirl of thoughts.

"Tell me you need this." He whispered.

"Of course. I was hoping you'd come." She was almost pitiful in her clinginess.

"On your knees."

"Oh, yes..."

He rolled up his sleeve. Her faded brown eyes turned chrysoberyl green as her face changed. "Don't look at me." He commanded. They disgusted him. All demons. Vampires with their human faces- nothing underneath but killers. Killers who his girlfriend turned to once, maybe twice. "Bite. Now!" She sank her teeth into his arm and he felt the rage release.

Tomorrow it would all be better. She'd need him, she'd want him. I'll be a little darker for you, Buffy. I'll know you just a little bit better, Honey. I'll have walked where you've walked. "Harder." He whispered grimly.

After tomorrow, he'd never have to come here again...

Buffy was laying awake. Her mother was sleeping fitfully, but at least not rambling. And Dawn was finally asleep, thank God. She was nearly as exhausting as Mom. More, because Mom tried to be calm, composed. Dawn fired off questions like a sad machine gun. And then she talked. About how Mom was saying something was not right about her. That she wasn't only a kid. Of course, she didn't realize that was what her mother was understanding, but Buffy listened to the rehash with growing trepidation. Mom had to get better, she had to fight Glory, and protect Mom. I can't do both- can I? And if something happened to Mom... God I can't take care of Dawn, no way, I just... can't.

She flopped over, sobbing silently. Mom has to be okay. She has to get better than this, I can't stand hearing her so confused, so crazy sounding, not when she's so young, when all she was having was a headache! It was only a headache, why was it suddenly making her like this? Because the cancer's growing, hurting her more, and she can't fight it.

Speaking of things that you can't fight, what about Spike? Dawn was so freaked about that. About how Spike's face was covered in blood, how he was gasping out words as Riley prepared to hit him again. She was shook up, she confessed, curling in Buffy's lap. Riley was supposed to be nice. Why would he beat up Spike, like that? When he wasn't trying to hurt us? Was he trying to hurt us?

No, she had reassured her ponderous sister. Spike was not trying to hurt us. He was trying to be (so weird) nice, and check on Mom. He helped me kill that thing. And then he was ... what would have been the next step if they hadn't been interrupted? She didn't know.

Spike had to care for her on some deeper level, far from love, but something more than a- a three night stand? Probably doesn't realize it. Or does he? Words from a few nights ago swam in her head. "You Summers women. You're a strange lot. But I like you. Sometimes."

Why does he like me? Why do I like him? 'Cause I kinda do. A little. God, and I told him. "You're a strange, sad, vampire punk freak. But I like you. Sometimes." She remembered the flash of fear she had when the soldiers burst into her house. Not after the Queller, she hadn't thought that at all, she hadn't thought they even knew about that. No, she was thinking one thing, and one thing only. Riley had led them to Spike. She'd put herself between Spike and Riley. At the time, she thought it was between Spike, and the soldiers. But it was Riley. Did I just make a choice, and pick Spike? No. No I could never do that. I just don't want anything to happen to him, that's all. I need him. I want him.

More words circled in her exhausted brain. "I'll never hurt you in here, Buffy. I want you to want me. Like I want you." And she wanted him so bad it hurt. But he wasn't hurting her. She didn't trust him, not really, so how could she even think of him like that? Like she wanted him again? "You don't have to trust me. Just know me." She turned into her pillow again, head buried deeper muffling the steadily growing sobs.

No. I have a good, decent guy. Maybe he doesn't know me, but he loves me. It isn't his fault I can't love him back. This can't happen again. Tomorrow night, everything will be fine. And Riley will be the one I celebrate with.

And if it went wrong? Tears threatened to strangle her. If it went wrong, she'd go to Spike. I don't love him, but then again, that's not his fault. At least it'll be fair. Neither of us in love. But he'll give me whatever I need.

Spike lay on top of the stone coffin upstairs. His bones were healing slowly. They'd never have broken in the first place if he'd been feeding properly. But as long as he didn't drink anything new, he could still taste sweet, rich, Slayer blood. Buffy blood. Slayer heritage made it powerful, but it was the woman herself who made it delicious. If he hadn't restrained himself to a few moments of deep drinking, he'd have been invincible for a week, if he'd fed off her like he'd fed off the last ones.

As it was, he was stubbornly clinging to her taste, and an ordinary, admittedly powerfully built, human had shattered his septum and snapped two ribs.

He should be in the soft bed downstairs. But he couldn't bear to be near Harmony. Not when Buffy lurked in his brain, as irremovable and painfully inconvenient as the soddin' chip. He closed his eyes, and tried to think of something else. Beating the shit out of Riley, the unappreciative, unknowing bastard who claimed to all but fucking own her. But instead, images of Buffy remained stubbornly inside his head.

She had been so close to him. So warm. Still smelling her, still swallowing her. Cumming inside her, and feeling her cum around him. If he wasn't nursin' a couple broken ribs, he'd be nursin' a rager of a hard on. Goddamn it. I miss the girl. I should never have had that second taste. Should never have had the first taste. I'm poisoned.

Spike winced as he shifted to unzip, broken ribs or not. Could almost feel her much smaller, softer hand around him, instead of his own. Bloody hell. I must be sick. Bloody fuckin' hell. I don't want to be cured...