I Like to Win

By Sweetprincipale

Set in season five, after Intervention. Joyce is gone, Glory's in town, and the Buffy Bot is in Willow's custody, Dawn's in capable hands at night while Buffy patrols. Imagine there's a weeknight where nothing major is happening- other than the usual horrors...

Author's note: My first ever attempt at writing T-rated fiction. Please be kind. Short, sort of fluffy, sort of angsty- all of it completely Spuffy.

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

Part I

"You wanna stay on the ground a bit longer? You pretty up the place." Spike smirked down at the sprawled female on the damp grass.

"Oh goody. Sarcasm. Just what I need." Buffy sat up wearily, looking and feeling as limp as a wet rag, emotionally, physically, mentally drained. And now this. Life just looooves me.

"Lemme help-"

"Don't touch me! There will be no touching!" Buffy glared and pulled herself to her feet with a poisonous look at Spike. "I am fine." Which was a really big lie. Buffy silently hoped saving lots of lives excused lies. Lies to evil, undead, jerks probably didn't need excuses, anyway.

"Well, bully for you." Spike gave her a cool glance and hitched his brown paper bag higher into his arms. "I saw you dust the newbie and not get back up. Figured the least I could do was see if you're were knocked out."

"Why? So you can chain me up again?" Buffy said brightly, a sinisterly sweet, 'you so don't want to mess with me' smile on her face.

Spike looked genuinely hurt for a split second. Then the cockiness was back. "No, I got the impression you'd want to be awake if we played those kinds of games."

"Oh, that does it-" Buffy pulled out her stake and lunged. Spike sidestepped- badly. Right. He's injured guy. Injured as in tortured. For hours. Because he wouldn't tell Glory what we're hiding. Yay. Guilt now.

Spike didn't know who was more surprised, him or her, when they ended up together, chest to chest, her catching him, stake dropped to the ground.

It killed him. To be this close. And she'd kissed him. A real kiss, just a few days ago. A kiss she wanted to give him, chaste, soft, but thank him for his self-sacrifice. Even after all he'd done, she still thanked him. Made him melt even more than he already was.

Oh, dangerous places, dangerous places and bad thoughts. Buffy felt their heads brush, and his cool, slightly bruised cheek against her skin. She pushed him upright none too gently. "Maybe you shouldn't wear the huge boots if you can't walk in them." She snapped and juggled his paper bag back to him. It clinked and they both made a grab for it, to steady it. Hands touched and pulled apart as if stung. Spike clutched the bag and sneered.

"Maybe if you'd tidy up a bit after your slaying." He groused. "Open graves all over the bloody place. Anyone could fall. Get hurt." He sighed furiously at himself as he blurted, " I was only checkin' to make sure you were alright, Slayer."

She swallowed an angry retort. There wasn't enough energy to be angry and stay upright and keep moving, act like her world wasn't hanging in pieces. Maybe that's all he'd wanted to see. When he wasn't being a total bastard, she could believe it. "Thanks."

"Yeah. Well. Thanks for the- the catch." He straightened up and they managed a weak grin.

"So." Buffy tried to think of something to say. What does one say after one's sister is saved by evil villain guy at great pain and injury to said villain? "What's in the bag?" Why don't I ever just say 'goodnight', like a normal person? Oh right. Not a normal person.

Spike blinked. "Dinner an' dessert." He tilted it towards her so she could peek over the edge. Blood in bags and a large bottle of Jack Daniels.

"Ah. Um. Yum."

Spike's dark eyebrows raised almost off his purchases were usually met with disinterest, disdain, or disgust. "Yum" did not fit the pattern at all. "You alright, Luv?"

She laughed. Once. Twice. Then she couldn't stop. Hysteria had set in. Everyone said the stress would get to her. Slaying was bad enough, throw in a majorly yucky break up and the death of your mother and the hunting of your sister? Just ask the loony bin to send the butterfly net guys over now. "Oh God. I'm so not alright. No way will I ever be alright again." The laughing was spasmodic, tapering and then swelling again as Spike watched in a blend of horror and sympathy. "Here's the mental breakdown, Spike." She laughed so hard that it came out as a hiccup, a wet sounding one as tears collected in the back of her throat. "Why can't I ever fall apart someplace really nice like a spa or maybe the beach?"

"Want me to drive you to the beach?" Spike asked in a puzzled, concerned tone that only made the laughter and tears start merging together. "I could." He offered, a hesitant hand going for her shoulder.

"You're being nice to me. That's it. My life is officially no longer my life. I am stuck in a really bad nightmare and I can't wake up." Wet, wide eyes turned to him and she shook her head as he opened his mouth to offer something comforting, something reassuring. "No. No. Don't say anything unless you can either make me wake up or stay asleep until all this is over."

Sod that. He'd never been able to keep quiet, and being told to keep quiet was like pulling the trigger on his vocal cords. "Sorry, Pet. Never gonna happen as long as you're you." She punched him lightly on the side and he winced. That side was missing quite a bit of skin and probably some muscle as well. Glory liked to play rough with her captive pieces of meat.

The wince was one more straw on an overloaded camel. "Sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." Buffy was looping, back to a different form of hysterics now, the tearful type, the remorseful type where everything in the world is your fault. Even vampires. Vampires were her fault, because if there weren't vampire slayers, there wouldn't be vampires, right?

"No, no, no." Spike soothed. "We don't do this. You don't do this."

"What?" Her eyes stopped leaking and sparked angrily. "I don't get to complain or feel sorry, or feel like my world is screwed up?"

"Yes, of course you do." Spike looked around anxiously, then sighed. Sobbing and laughing like one of the loonies Glory made. Probably attract a whole horde of scabby little minions."But not out here, like this. Come on. I know what'll make you feel better."

Buffy hesitated, watching him move, like a cat watching a particularly wily mouse. "What do you think you can possibly do to make me feel better?" She asked with more contempt than she really felt. Right now, almost anything had to make her feel better, because she felt like crap, and the list of things that could potentially make her feel worse was incredibly small in comparison.

A flicker of his own anger flared up, but it was quickly extinguished by the hidden hope in her eyes. She really did want to feel better. Even if it wasn't real, even if it was just a little respite from the pain, even for a second or two. He could handle that. "Well, Slayer-" his hand emerged from the brown paper bag triumphantly, the bottle of whiskey held out to her. "I can share." One eyebrow arched smoothly. "You in?"

The smile snuck onto her face, as if shy and nervous to be seen. "I'm in."

They'd only had two shots each, a drip on a nickel for him, a bellyful for her- until her slayer strength absorbed it. He was pacing them, slow sips, not saying much, sizing each other up it seemed. "You wanna talk?" He finally asked.

"About what?" A huffed out laugh. "How bad my life is right now?"

"Sure. I'll play you."

"Yeah, right. I know your tricks now." She muttered into the last sip of her second shot.

"Not play like that, you twit." Spike offered to pour her another and she nodded. "Play a game. Drown the sorrows. One shot between us." He took her glass and she let out a yelp of annoyance. "Whoever has the biggest sorrow gets the drink."

"I'm so going to win." Buffy whispered grimly, and sat up straighter, no longer leaning against the base of his armchair as they sat on the floor of his crypt.

"Not bloody likely." He didn't actually care if she beat him all to pieces. Not in this manner anyway, this was the least painful exchange he'd had with her in ages. Liquor was cheap anyway, compared to letting her get some relief, someone to talk to, someone she didn't have to play hero for. "Start small."

"Okay..." Buffy thought about the little things, all of which seemed so insignificant in her life lately. Usually, thinking about the little day to day things seemed overwhelming, piled upon all the huge things. Except right now, when it was okay to talk about them. Be a total bitchy bitch in a bitch session. A rueful smile leapt to her lips. "Dawn is alllllllllways taking my clothes without asking. It's so annoying, it drives me up the wall."

Spike snorted out a laugh. "Uh yeah. Annoying, sure. A hell goddess ripped up one of the FOUR shirts I own. Twenty five percent of my wardrobe is destroyed." He reached for the glass.

Buffy smacked his wrist and deflected his hand. "Let's talk how many outfits I've had ruined through blood, tearing, ripping, sliming, snotting, spewing, stabbing, grass stains, mud stains, and other nameless goo. I can't count that high." She reached for the glass herself. Spike lightly pushed her fingers back.

"That's not some big shocker, Luv. Math isn't your strong point. You want to talk wardrobe issues? I've been around for over a century." He started ticking off on his fingers as he listed, "Clothes I was turned in, blood- soaked. Clothes I was buried in- full of dirt. Been mobbed, gassed, set on fire, captured by Nazis, bled on, gored, hung, tortured-"

"Whoa, back up. Nazis? As in the only human people I ever really wanted to kill?"

"Yeah, not too keen on 'em myself." Spike's hand reached over hers as he continued. "Let's not even count the number of times Dru got impatient an' ripped somethin' of mine straight off of my-"

"Ack! No, no. That doesn't count- and really doesn't need to be shared." Buffy winced. Partly because I don't want to think about ripping clothes off of him. Because I could see that happening. Not with me, maybe, but... he is sorta- muscle-y. And sexy. You know it's bad when a guy looks good to you even when he's bruised up and still has a little bit of leftover puffy eye going on.

"Now hang on, why doesn't that count?" He demanded irritably.

"Because it was your girlfriend acting out the cover of a trashy romance novel. Romance stuff doesn't tip the scales in the bad day game." Buffy crossed her arms and dared him to argue.

"Fine. Let's talk bad romance then." He sneered.

"Why? You want to lose super fast?" Buffy put her hands on her hips. Some spark was coming back now, and she hadn't even realized it. All the pain wasn't being drunk off, it was being talked out, with a snark and a snide remark- but it was going. "Let's see- Angel. Big love. First love. First time. Slept with him, soul gone- demon wearing my boyfriend's face is back- in my face. With psycho issues." She swallowed. "Can't top that." Her hand shook and she was shocked when Spike's closed around it. Not just to fend her off from the drink, but just- holding it.

"Okay. I'll top it. Cecily. First love. Loved her- for years. From a distance. I got up the courage to tell her, I wrote her a- I wrote her. Some bully at a party took my words, made them a public spectacle, humiliated me in front of her. I tried to explain- she told me she could never love a man like me." He winced. "An' I was a good man. Back then." Buffy's eyes widened, then slitted.

"You still don't win." But she was moved.

"I'm not done. I stumbled out of her house, took the wrong way home, an' met- met my real true love. My wicked, black swan, with her glowing eyes, her- effulgence." His head dipped at the memory of the rush, the feel of her hands, her teeth, knowing passion for the first time, and then knowing a woman for the first time, a demon in an angel's body, writhing around him, showing him a whole cosmos in a soft hiss and a silken whisper. "I loved her like I didn't know you could love anything. Like she was my cup of life an' she was lettin' me drink from her." Eyes turned from blue to black with pupil-dilating lust. Drink from each other they did, wrapped together in long ebony locks and silk sheets.

Buffy felt herself burn just a little too much under those dark eyes. Maybe it was the alcohol or the sexual imagery of her own gutter brain, but she felt some of that life force pounding into her through his words. Her lips dried and she moistened them. "That doesn't sound so bad." She finally managed to croak.

Dark, bitter chuckling, ending with a snap of teeth as he eyed her, brows drawn together, heavy lidded eyes, not really looking at her, but looking back, seeing bad days. "Wait for it. A century of devotion. In sickness and health, better or worse... not even death did us part, brought us together instead." He sighed, twisted his head and now his eyes regarded her. "An' then we come to Sunnyhell." The snide tone was back, replacing the awestruck wonder of a second ago. "Your honey loses his soul, thanks to you, an' he takes my Dru from me. Oh, I'm still kickin' about, I'm in a wheelchair- again, thanks to you, but Dru walks through me like a shadow to get to her sire, her precious Angelus. He was her first, you see." He saw the pain bloom in her eyes, but his own pain was masking his concern for the moment. He twisted the knife. "Not that she was willing, mind you. She was a good girl, from a Catholic family- which your boy slaughtered ruthlessly in front of her. She was going to become a nun, devote herself to serving the Lord. But still- you never forget your first time, do you?"

Remains of Buffy's meager dinner tried to come up with the burning alcohol. "Shut up, Spike." Ice in every word.

"I'll skip ahead, shall I?" He felt his own guts twist, useless though they were to him. "A century of my love, and she tosses it away to shag the man who we'd come to hate. I save her from his crazy-arsed plan to suck the world into hell- and she leaves me for a slimy, antlered, cloven hooved demon. Decades of my love- tossed aside. My eternity- gone." This time he made no move to retrieve the prize, just sat, flexing his hands on his knees.

Buffy's voice was soft. "Willow changed him back. Right as the portal began to open. He was mine again. He'd missed me. He couldn't remember. He looked in my eyes, and trusted me to make it better." She bit her lip. "It was too late. It was him- or the world. So I kissed him. And I said I loved him. Because I did. Because I do. And then I killed him."

When she looked up, his eyes were shining, not with malice, something else, something he didn't let her see. He picked up the bottle and filled the second glass. "It's a tie."

It was a sad mockery of victory. Feeble clinks of glasses. Then needy swallows.

"Guess my game didn't work too well, Luv."

Buffy paused. Her hand tightened on the neck of the bottle before he could even blink and she filled her glass again and sat it back in the middle with a shrug. "It's okay. That was just the first round."

Second Round, coming soon...