Rules Reset

By Sweetprincipale

Sequel to I Like to Win. Please read that first. Skipping around through season six. Buffy's life ended before she and Spike had a chance to try out a second game Spike proposed, inspired by the drinking game of "Drowning the Sorrows". He never thought he'd have chance to prove how much he loved her, or show he could be her champion when it came to making her happy. Now Buffy's back and the game continues, offering Spike a chance to show that he can not only bring her happiness, but possibly bring her back to life.

Author's Note: Smut warning! Mushy. Very mushy, but come on, you can't blame them.

Dedicated to ginar369, Alexiarrose, cavementftw, Jewel74, Illusera, Omslagspapper, Mike13z50,Teddybear-514, Rosalea12, rororogers, Touch The Dark, Lyzzybelle, SushiBar, and Maire Ailbhe.

Direct Quotes are obviously not mine, but belong to the fabulously talented and creative people who wrote them. In this case, some of season six's dialogue will be used.

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

Part XII

"Here we go then, one bottle, one glass. Want me to turn on the telly? Probably some cheesy creature feature on that we'd find laughable."

"No, I'm good." Buffy laughed and shivered.

"You cold?"

"Riding at seventy miles an hour late at night on the back of a motorcycle gives me my first true understanding of "wind burn". Buffy rubbed her hands together and blew on them.

"Not exactly warm an' cozy in here." Spike said apologetically. "C'mere. Let me see if I can warm you up." Oh, like she's going to buy that, you have no body heat, you have-

"Okay." Buffy slid easily into his arms and huddled in.

Well I'll be damned. Spike wrapped his arms tightly around her and rubbed her back in hard circles, hoping to get friction-induced heat to build.

Buffy sighed. He wasn't any warmer than she was, but being pressed to his chest, made her blood rush, and that had the desired effect. "Next time I wear gloves. And a heavier coat."

There's a next time. Spike kissed the top of her hair, inhaling the scent of chill winds layered over her natural aroma. "We could always borrow the Jeep."

"Maybe." Buffy looked up at him and smiled. He bent and kissed her with a smile of his own.

He could just ravish her right now. No, he absolutely could not. Wants and his old nature complained loudly about the new rules he imposed on himself, on making moves, on taking things at a different pace. C'mon on now, William. Gotta admit slow and steady seems to be winnin' this race- and oddly enough, a damn sight quicker than all the fast action you tried before. He lingered against her lips a bit longer and then pulled off with a final rub of her spine. "Here we go, Slayer." He gestured to the battered armchair they had been leaning against. "Have a seat?"

"Where will you sit?" Buffy hadn't wanted the kiss to end. But on the other hand, she wasn't sure what happened if they kept going past it. She sat and hugged her knees.

"On the floor. Soon's I get some light in here." He flicked his lighter open with a tiny flare and hiss, then lit the candles he had scattered around the television and the little cubby hole where his mini fridge was.

Buffy watched him move. Spike could feel her eyes on him, and it made him struggle for control. Beautiful woman, woman I love, in my chair. Whiskey. Candles. My place. He needed a smoke, but he knew nicotine would only mask deeper cravings. "There's a little light on the subject." He eased himself down before her and poured the first shot with a steady hand. "Alright, Slayer. You suggested the tie breaker round. How do you want to play this?"

"Um." Buffy twisted her hands in a sudden spasm. "I don't know. I don't know what it is about me, exactly, that seems to make you so happy. I just know what you do makes me- I just know how you make me feel. I guess," she swallowed, "I'm taking my turns on your behalf."

My girl. My girl is playing for me. "See, that right there," Spike began hoarsely "Is what you do. You go above and beyond what anyone imagines you'll do."

"And you don't?" Buffy laughed softly, letting herself relax. "You fixed my mortgage. No one ever thinks of things like that, or maybe they do, but they say 'I wish I could help', and you actually help."

"You help me all the time. I fixed a house. You fixed a man." The hoarseness was getting to the choking point, and he was cursing. How the hell did the "happy game" end up as emotional as the soddin' "sad game"? "Don't think you were trying. It just happened. I was one way- I was around you," he smiled up at her before looking back at the small glass of amber liquid, glowing in candlelight, "an' then I was a different person inside." His fingers touched the glass. "To Buffy." He inched it towards her. "Who can make a person new inside, without even trying."

Buffy was moved. And she was scared to feel moved like this, a new feeling, nothing she'd ever felt before. She vaguely realized, as her brain swam, that she hadn't had the best and most communicative relationships. A guy telling you what you mean to him, how he sees you, what he thinks of you- well that came with heartbreak and eleventh hour crises. But with Spike, at least this "new" Spike, it came with dinner, dancing, and drinking games. "I don't think so." The young woman whispered. "You say I do it without trying, but you do try. You try your ass off. That's way more effort. Mine was an accident, yours was on purpose. You worked for this harder. Champ." She stopped the glass' advance with the toe of her boot.

If she makes me cry- well, that'd just be me all over, wouldn't it? The little bespectacled sod I was anyway. Why the hell does whatever's in my heart try an' work its way out my tear ducts? Spike harrumphed once and then twisted his blue eyes and ice white face into a stern yet snarky expression. "Ah ah ah. Much as I appreciate it, this game isn't about who does the grunt work. This is about how happy you make the other person. Accidentally or not, you've changed my whole bloody world, Luv. Literally feel like a new man, a different person since I met you- an' since I lost you and found you again." Spike looked up at her, sitting at her feet. He found it oddly appropriate.

Slayer, apparently, did not. She pushed the chair back and scooted off it, glaring at him. "You rebuilt me. You had- good things in you. I came back with-" she winced and closed her eyes, head turning slightly in pain, "nothing in me."

"That's not true! You were better than ever for tryin' to soldier on in pain like that." His glare was fierce, his voice growing loud.

"That much pain, that you managed to make stop growing, then helped me to let it go, then erase it, until finally I have the opposite! I'm happy, I'm glad to be back, I'm not worried about surviving. Okay, maybe a little, but if I have you around-"

"Which you do." He inserted emphatically.

"-then I don't worry too much. Because I have a guy who never stops trying to save me." She swallowed, "Even when I don't see a way to save myself."

Spike seized the glass and gulped it.

"You agree?" Buffy asked, surprised at his abruptness.

"Nope, needed a steadier." He unscrewed the cap and poured a second shot. "You were makin' me light headed, what with my ego tryin' to lift me off the floor, needed a jolt to shoot me back on solid ground." He wiped his stinging lips and locked eyes with her. "Everything you said is true, Luv, but how do you think that makes me feel? Yeah? The woman I'm-" he stumbled over what he wanted to call her, and tried again. "You want me there, you treat me like I'm a hero, and you forgive me, an' you treat me like a friend,-"

"You are all those things to me." She interjected quietly but firmly.

"My point exactly. You can't imagine how that makes me feel. 'Specially when I thought I'd lost the chance, an' look at how buggered up things were before-" He shook his head. "I'm well past happy. Because of you."

Buffy was flattered and touched. But not giving in. "I'm a different kind of happy, one I never had before." She squinted. "I know perfect bliss, I know what heavenly feels like. This isn't like that. It hurts in places and there's worry and stuff. But it's," she licked her lips, searching for the words, "it's not something I'd trade for heaven. But it's the closest thing I've felt to it. It's more real, more raw, but it's kinda heavenly."

I make her feel like that. Something changed inside him again. Something small and golden seemed to be born inside his chest, and it had wings, it could fly, and it lifted him to new heights. But she couldn't see that.

Spike massaged this glowing ache inside, hand over his heart, a grimace on his face. "You don't see this, you can't know this. You can't imagine what you do to me, Buffy." His hand left his chest and took her fingers, leaning forward urgently, like if he said this fast enough and harshly enough, she'd believe him. "I don't think we're goin' about this the right way, lovely as it is, because happiness can't be defined, you can't say you're happier than me, because you don't know what I'm feeling, and I can't describe it!"

"Same here!" She was just as passionate, just as intense. "You can't see how much it hurt, you can't see how much it doesn't hurt now!"

Before things could devolve into an argument, an argument over something so sweet and so joyous, they seemed to wake up. Maybe it was the fact they were nose to nose at this point. "You're right." He conceded softly, deliberately. "This isn't the way to play, and this isn't how I imagined it goin', not back when I first had the idea." He shook his head as his hand softly made its way up to her neck, cupping it, letting her head lean into his palm. "This never really was a game to me, Slayer. Least, not one you can win over a bottle of the best."

"Hard to do." She murmured, letting her cheek nestle into the strong hand.

"I did want to make you the happiest. That'd be the best thing I've ever done, all the victory you can ask for."

"I know. And I honestly don't think I'm very good at making you happy. If you didn't love me so much already, I don't think I'd have even been able to try."

Spike's eyes widened and then hastily returned to normal. The first time she ever admitted it. Without arguing, belittling, refusing... The glow inside turned up another notch, and it almost burnt him with its sudden sun-like flare.

Buffy seemed to belatedly realize what she'd said, and her stomach turned to ice. L-word. Him to me, not me to him. I'm still safe.

"Don't sell yourself short, Luv. I think you'd have done fine, either way." Spike knew she was panicking and he diffused it as best he could, saying something simple, nothing fancy, nothing with any pressure.

Oh my God. Don't you get it? You're safe! You're safe no matter what, because it's him. You can. You can do this, try this again, and he'll keep you safe. You'll save each other. You'll make each other happy. "I hope so." Buffy said in reply as her mind whizzed along. "We can't put it in words, huh?"

"And for the two of us, that's sayin' a lot. Or not, I guess." Spike blinked as his clever remark suddenly seemed to lose some of its pithiness.

"So... here's to you." She handed him the glass again. "I don't really drink."

"Ah- thought of that." Spike stood up, reluctant to leave her, but proud of himself. He trotted to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of ice tea. "Picked it up with the chocolate last night."

Buffy grinned and scrambled up, bringing the glass to him. "See! Look at that, more happys!"

Spike giggled, had to, at her eager, bouncing voice. "It's the little things," they traded beverages and he clinked his shot to her plastic cap, "that mean so much."

"They absolutely do." They sipped, stepped in, and smiled, practically chest to chest. "Spike?"

"Hm?"

"Maybe if it's hard to say... it's easier to show instead?" Buffy felt light headed, dizzied by her own thoughts, and where she envisioned them leading.

"Maybe." Spike gently took the bottle from her hand and emptied his own. Both hands free, he pulled her shoulders softly to him so he could kiss her.

Boy, did she kiss him back. Hands in his hair, a small, talented tongue pushing hungrily between his lips, and making him instantly and wonderfully "uncomfortable" in the trousers. "Oh?" Spike gasped a little when Buffy reared away, out of breath.

"Yeah." Buffy nodded.

"This is a brilliant way to communicate." He chuckled darkly and caught her again. This time his tongue was the aggressor, plundering, pushing, arms around her, catching her as she went limp.

What started as a playful challenge turned more serious when he let her come up for air this time. He loosened his grip- and she held on tight, shaking her head.

"Don't stop." She whispered softly.

Fireworks detonated in his mind's eye, though they were quickly silenced. "Don't stop" doesn't mean go into new territory necessarily. It just means "don't stop". So he didn't. He nodded and let her cling to him, curl to him, kissing again, slow, and deep, and thorough.

They lost their balance, her first, dizzied by all the emotion in her head and running low on oxygen. She collapsed in the chair, bringing him with her, although he didn't land on top of her, he landed on his knees, arms still around her. It was only a matter of time before she had to scoot down to the floor as well. She couldn't stand to lean forward, she wanted, needed him against her.

Spike was dizzy himself by now, from lust and inhaling her, from her body always seeking his. He let out a little growl and pulled her forward hard. "Sorry." He whispered. "Not carried away. Wanted you closer." He murmured apologetically, when her mouth came away with a startled pop.

"Closer?"

"Well, yeah. Closer." He kissed her cheek, jowl, and neck softly, easing up. No pressure.

"I like closer." Her hand ran lightly over his lean chest, pressing in over the hard ridges of muscle. The second hand joined in. His hands copied, only instead of muscle he felt a rib cage that needed a bit more padding to be healthy again, a yielding side under either hand, and breasts that heaved suddenly when his hands rested high up, under her arms, thumbs just touching the outline of her bra cups. "Too close?"

"No." She mouthed, sound temporarily gone.

He was surprised. He was mildly worried, too. Her heartbeat was so quick, and she'd lost her voice. Could be very bad or very good, could be a snap in either direction, and he wasn't sure which. "Buffy, you know I don't- well, you know, I-" Damn, this was not a speech he'd ever had. Ever. Not in a hundred plus years had he been in a situation like this. "I'd never push things. Or hurt - or hurt things. Anymore. Like I did. Sorry." Damn. Very smooth.

Well, the girl seemed to think so. Her eyes went from nervously wide to half-lidded and her kisses were sweet, hands roaming his back. "I know what you mean.

Already forgave you, too. For everything."

He wanted to relax more, spread out a bit instead of balancing on their knees on the hard stone floor, lie back with her like that one night under the hedges. But if he mentioned going downstairs or to his bed, he was worried she'd think he was pushing harder and faster, in spite of what they'd just said. Frankly, he didn't care if they never stopped circling the airport. Girl was warm, soft, supple, tasted amazing, and gave one hell of a back rub. "Oooh." He shivered as her eager little fingers dug in to his sculpted back. "Ooooohhh." He relaxed, like a cat arching its spine- and toppled sideways.

"Ow. Oops." Buffy toppled with him. The television and its surrounding candles rocked, the whiskey bottle tipped and rolled clinking and sloshing away. "That could have been messy and fiery." Buffy and Spike sat back up, awkwardly brushing each other off.

"Sorry."

"My fault. I have talented hands, I guess." She smiled self-consciously.

"You do." He kissed her fingertips, and looked into her eyes. Forgiving eyes. Trusting eyes. She trusts me. He could hear her voice, watch the moment in his head, the first time she told him that as she was pulling him back on top of her for a kiss, that night, lying in the grass. Here we go. "Buffy, would you like to go downstairs? Softer than the floor." She trusts me. She trusts me.

"Okay." She rose with him shakily. He won't hurt me. She wasn't speaking of her body. That was used to pain, and healed fast. She was speaking of her heart. She couldn't remember the last time that hadn't hurt. That's why I don't want to be forced to remember. I want fresh memories...for a fresh life. "I'd like that."


He went first, with a lit candle to light the rest of the candles downstairs. Everything she'd seen before was gone, after that terrible night he'd brought her down there... Well, that was literally a lifetime ago. No chains to try to bind her, no shrine to her in his obsession.

She wouldn't know it, but there were only a few things he prized, reminders of her, in the was a box under the bed, with one sweater of hers, and a photo of her and Dawn. Those weren't from before, those were from Dawn- from after. When she realized that he had nothing left of hers, nothing to hold on to, like the rest of the ones who loved her. The gifts from Dawn were things he could never part with- but had never looked at after the first night Dawn gave them to him.

Now Buffy was back, and with him, willingly, taking his hands as she climbed down the ladder. He was gratified to see her eyes never left his face, she didn't survey the surroundings like a warrior checking out enemy territory. She trusts me. I think maybe she feels more than that too.

"You see okay?" He asked softly. She nodded. "You can take your shoes off if you want. Though the floor's cold an' a bit gritty, so you might not-" She was already unzipping her chic black ankle boots. "Right." She nodded again, and sat.

Oh bloody buggerIng hell. Try so hard not to push her. Ask the stupid questions, nag, pry, etc, etc. But... "Slayer. Buffy, I wanted to-"

"Spike?" Buffy interrupted him.

"What, Luv?"

"Promise this turns out as happy as everything else you do for me?"

Instantly galvanized, he sat beside her on the bed and took both her hands. "Of course! This is just- this is just us showing how we feel. What could be unhappy about that? What with how I feel about you." He ginned reassuringly, pressing her hands tightly in his own.

"How I feel about you, too." Her eyes danced slowly in the candlelight. Serious.

"I only want to make you happy. I'll never do anything but that." He swore.

"I like making you feel that way, you know. I'm just worried I'll mess up."

"I'm worried too. About me, not you. You know me. I'm excellent at making what could be good go very badly."

"No... you're excellent at taking what's very bad and making it all better." She smiled and rested her head on his chest for a second.

"This is already so good, so... whatever we do tonight should be phenomenal." He teased.

"Not sure what I want to do." She finally tried to warn him, eyes a little apprehensive, almost guilty.

"Then we'll just relax and have a good time." He put his arm around her. "You tired? You could take a nap, this bed's like marshmallow, best mattress ever."

She laughed. "I do know I don't want to sleep. Not yet." She pecked his lips and lay back. He followed.


Everything seemed to build very slowly. Kisses and the little touches became longer kisses and more probing touches. Some on accident.

Buffy gasped. His hand hit a hard nipple as he reached across her. He murmured an apology in her ear. Her thighs squeezed together as she felt a sudden burning ache inside her middle.

"Hurts?" He felt the twitch, not sure what kind it was.

"Just aches.' She echoed words from earlier in the week.

"Here, Luv, I can take your mind off it." He snickered and massaged her lower back, rolling more on top of her. It was his turn to spasm. His hardness grated between them, and the crease of his jeans painfully pressed it.

She could feel it. "Hurts?" She asked in a breathless voice.

"Not bad."

Mouths met again, ending any conversation. Buffy tried, vaguely tried to remember how things were supposed to progress, was there an order, what was too much- and nothing would come to her. She was slipping away in some sort of haze, relaxing more and more inside herself, or more and more with him.

Or maybe she'd never felt like this before. Not rushed, no danger of losing him like there had been the night she'd chosen to sleep with Angel, take things to the next step because she loved him and she had to show him before he went away on some dangerous mission. No pressure to try to get over someone like the night she'd slept with Parker, or to try and move on with her life when she'd begun her relationship with Riley.

I want this, because I want this. No. Because I want him. I want to be with him, feel safe with him, happy with him. I love this. Love... Love him.

Spike could tell something changed. The suppleness in her spine changed, her shoulders stiffened. He began to sit up, only to find every centimeter he pulled back, she moved with him, like she was glued. Hungry kisses that locked his lips between hers, hands clutching in his hair, her breathe heating the insides of a mouth that was airless- every gesture was connecting them.

"I'm right here." He managed to murmur, before lying back down.

"So am I. Here. Glad to be here. With you." Buffy's hand left the nape of his neck and slid down between his shoulder blades, her arm taking his over shirt with it.

That could be an accident, Spike silently rationalized. Then she purposefully tugged his arm through the sleeve. The fireworks were back inside his head again.

Buffy watched his eyes open, glow, then lids fell again. Her own eyes closed, and she felt things begin to happen. All the hard edges, and the brightness and harshness of the world washed away, letting herself feel safe and warm. Lukewarm hands on her skin now, under her sweater, at the back, caressing, gentle hands, slow hands.

Time has no meaning in here.

It's still going to happen. There's still bliss.

Uncertainty left her and she raised her shoulders off the bed and pulled the front of her shirt free between them, unspoken invitation for him to roll the garment off of her.

Spike obeyed, skillful fingers almost clumsy in their effort to make everything slow and careful, no sudden pushes, sudden demands. While he was above her, watching her shake out her mane of hair after being tugged about in her shirt, he rolled off his own black tee as well.

Oh God. He's gorgeous.

She's beautiful.

They made a clinging cocoon, equal parts craving each other's touch and wanting to protect each other. He thought she was taking a risk for his sake. She thought he needed her close, like she desired him.

"Need you."

"Oh, Luv. Need you too." He leaned over her briefly and blew out a few of the candles closest to the head of the bed so things were dimmer, more romantic. "Better?"

"Cozy."

"Nice and snug."

"Well- I can feel that." She laughed softly, aware of the hard packed pouch against her. His own throaty laugh, just one laugh, escaped as well.

"I don't mind. All I need to do is have you next to me and everything is amazin'."

"Yeah. It is."


There're moments when everything seems to be speeding along, but moving slowly. That's what Buffy felt. For Spike, it was only slow. It was sweet, long-awaited agony. "Can I show you?"

She didn't wonder what he meant, she knew. Show her how happy he was, happy because of her. That's how this whole activity began, two people unable to tell, trying to show. She nodded, cheek to his cheek so he could feel her silent agreement.

He didn't ask for any other permission. She trusted him and he'd please her. If she wanted something different, she'd be comfortable enough to tell him, because that was how they'd been since she'd come back. Since before, only never as real friends. Never as lovers.

Lovers. Spike inhaled, closed his eyes, and started living out the good dreams, the fantasies he had hugged and hidden away.

Buffy gasped, silent, pleasure-filled. A mouth, a few shades cooler than hers, started at her lips with a starving, deep-drinking kiss that left her breathless, and then moved down across her throat, over her shoulders. Teeth dragged bra straps down, hands lifted breasts up, until they overflowed the cups and a head was laid against her bare skin.

"Your heartbeat... sweetest sound to me." He mumbled, nuzzling in to her satiny globes, eyes closed, sighing.

"Thank you." She couldn't hear like he could, but there were sounds of his that she loved, that she'd come to associate with the pain inside her mind lessening or ending altogether. "I like when your voice gets a little snarky. Not being a jerk, when you're joking with me. Or no, maybe my favorite is when you get all serious, and you speak soft and slow. I don't know. I can't pick. I just like your voice."

Spike was floored by that. "Really?" Don't ask that, you idiot, you'll ruin the mood!

"One of the things I love about you."

Mood safe and intact. Spike glowed. "I love everything about you. You did know that, right?" He began to leave gentle, nibbling kisses along her breasts, stopping to suck a nipple into his mouth and nurse in a purely sensual way, tongue stroking the teat, coaxing it higher and harder... only fair, as something of his was beyond hard and high and had been for quite some time.

"I figured it out." Buffy gasped, spine curving to allow more of her sensitive skin to feed into him. "It's why I'm here. Why I love you."

Spike's mouth popped free and he reared up, the mood completely shattered and who the bloody fuck could blame him? "Did you say it? God, please tell me you said it?" He picked her up by the shoulders, eyes blinking rapidly.

"I'm not good at this part." Buffy suddenly sounded hoarse, their heads colliding, heartbeat racing.

"I don't care, neither am I, you know I'm not. You never have to say it again, only- tell me if I dreamed it?"

"No... I said it. I meant it. I don't know what else to say. It doesn't feel like it did- before." Buffy dipped her head, unable to look at eyes that were spotlights on her, eyes that threatened to overflow in happiness. "I just know... I feel it." She shrugged. "It's harder to say, to feel..."

"I love you, Buffy. Never, ever stopped. Never, ever will stop." His jaw was set, and he bundled her up determinedly. "I didn't mean to get all loud an' pushy just then, got carried away. Nothing changes, okay? I've been lovin' you this whole time, an' how you feel... as long as you're happy an' you're happy with me, I think-"

"I wasn't taking it back." Buffy's own jaw tightened, then spasmed helplessly. "I just said it was harder to say and feel after everything I've been through. But I still feel it, and say it. And it's real. I know what's real here. What I feel for you, that's real. And it's love." Her voice faded away, but was still sincere.

He laughed joyously, ringing, make her laugh as well, a surprised exclamation. "It's been so hard for me not to say it. D'you mind if I do?"

"No. No, go right ahead." She was swept up in him, literally and figuratively, as he laid on his back now, holding her above him, looking up adoringly.

"Love you. Love you lots, Slayer, love you jus' like you are and don't you ever change. 'Less you want to. An' I'll still love you if you do, no matter what." The exuberance died away and his eyes were soft and serious. "Always love you."

She wished she could make those big statements, big sweeping statements, but everything felt new and raw, even as safe and secure as she was with him. That's okay. He knows that. And he loves me anyway. Like real love should be. Buffy smile languidly, and pushed his arms to the side, making herself fall to the side, pressed against him instead of above him. "Wanna show me some more?"

"Can I show you as much as I want?" He asked, looking at her intently.

She almost asked him to clarify how much he wanted, but stopped herself. Let go. With him was the one place the rest of life could drop away- and still know someone would be waiting to catch her if she dropped away with it. "Can I show you, too?"

The little golden glow birthed inside him went to full sunlight proportions, and he felt like he was burning from the inside out. It hurt, but in a good way, like bones breaking, but back into the right place. He could "breathe" again. "Can't wait."


"Can't wait" was an oxymoron of a statement with those two. Even given permission of love, they still didn't want to rush.

"Gonna savor this." Spike chuckled.

"Mmm, that chuckle might be tied for my favorite favorite sound." Buffy giggled back, and enjoyed his mouth working all over her torso, breasts to belly, with that artful tongue latching onto her nipples and raising them to aching new stiffnesses.

Speaking of stiff things, unsure about this part though she was, Buffy reached down and let her hands start tracing along Spike's waistline. His hands mimicked hers, slowly, steadily. His hand moved hers to the top button of her slacks, the indicator. If she wanted to proceed, she'd undo it. With a shaking thumb, she pushed it through the eyelet, and waited for him to do more.

He did more, just not what she expected. He kept a hold of her hand, not her clothes. He held it until all the trembling stopped. Because he doesn't want what he wants- that's so tangled in my head. But I get it. If this was still about him, he'd have done everything the old way, the bad way. This is about me.

Buffy pushed his hand away gently, saw the understanding in his eyes- right before the wave of surprise. This isn't about me tonight. This is about us. Her hand was steady as it gently eased his zipper down.


Pants gone, everything off both of them, Spike brushed kisses over her waist, then thighs, then trailed them towards the middle. With a blush and a gasp, Buffy lifted her head. "What are you-"

"Making you happy. An' me as well." He butted her firmly on her inner thigh with his head, a small stubborn push to make her legs part. She was holding her breath, and he didn't know why. "You're beautiful. Such a beautiful paradise. All for me to love."

"It's been a really long time, longer than you'd think since I-" Buffy stopped talking as he made a feathery kiss to her mound, then the sealed lips, and then one to where wetness clung and she began to open. "Ooh. Spike?" Her voice held a little note of trepidation.

"Shhh. This world's too harsh, too bright, too violent you said." He stroked his thumb lightly along her seam. "I'm gonna give you something sweet an' soft an' loving. Make you smile."


New memories were made. It hadn't been like this before, not that she could recollect right then, she just knew it felt different. Spike didn't seem to have a "goal" in mind, to make her scream or call his name or get ready for more. Spike merely seemed to want to taste and make love to every inch of her. First the outer lips, then the inner, then a sensitive aching nub that couldn't bear to be touched for more than a second. She let out a hoarse, desperate cry.

"Ooh, kitten, did I get you?" Spike apologetically sat up, hand to his blunted teeth.

"Sensitive." Buffy blushed. "But good."

"Pretty pearl." Spike bent back down and licked her softly, opening to trembling point, before rising up. "You want a break?"

"No... I wanted you to lie down." Buffy slowly rose to her knees.

Spike's eyebrows arched. "Okay..." He lay down, own chest doing a few unneeded falls as he watched her lick her lips. "Slayer, you don't have to-"

"Showing you what I want to show you. Just remember- been a very, very long time since I did this." Buffy determinedly pushed her hair over one shoulder and bent down. Holy cow, that's big. And not mouth sized. Well, not the whole thing, anyway. I don't think he cares if I do anything, he just wants me to have a good time. Well, I want him to have one too.

Spike's head came off the pillows in surprise as she wrapped her mouth neatly around him, bobbed down about halfway, and then pulled back up. What the hell is that?, he wanted to shout. No little kisses and nervous tastes, not this one. Oh sweet Jesus, what is she doing, what does she mean "it's been awhile?" She's a bloody ringer. "Luv?"

"Mm?" Buffy looked up guiltily.

"No, no! No sad eyes." Spike laughed. "I was just gonna say- I don't know what you think a man expects- an' I certainly don't have 'expectations', but -" He groaned as he involuntarily twitched in her mouth and she clamped down on him harder, like she was afraid he'd escape, "- bloody hell, you're amazing..."

Buffy closed her eyes in complacent acceptance of his compliment, and focused on what she could feel and taste. Hard, warm, not hot, rigid, veins popping up under her tongue. What she could hear and see- sinewy body about to spasm, little twitches of pleasure, little grunts of enjoyment. "Slayer..." A gasp of her name, said like it was the most beautiful name in the universe. She lifted her head and slid up him, like a streak of sun against a cold shadow.

"Spike." Her most beautiful word, not a usual choice, but associated with the most beautiful, steadfast friend a girl could ask for, the most devoted champion of her health and happiness- at least when given a second chance. We're both on our second chances. "I can do more, I just wanted to come up here. See you smile."

"Oh, Pet, beamin' so hard it'll be a week before my lips can do anything but smile. Or kiss your pretty mouth." He demonstrated, rolling to the side, wrapping one arm lazily around her.

This is it. My beautiful girl, in love with me, pressed against me, so close to me. Taste her on my lips, smell her scent, hear her breath quicken up or slow down as she gets relaxed or excited. And that heartbeat... "Gimme a second." Spike paused in their tangling. "Wanna just listen an' look." In case this is a dream, an' I wake up.

"Okay... but you'll be seeing this a lot. I mean- if you want. Because I want."

"Oh, I want. I love." He repeated the words that seemed to prompt all this exploration.

Buffy swallowed through a suddenly tight throat. "Come here and love me, then."


Hhhh... Hhh... Hhh... Her breathing, the only sound in the new silence.

Urrm. His grunt as she slid under him. Ah-ahhhh. Segmented gasp of air as her hand, so warm and tightly gripping, stroked him against her open thighs.

Mmmnnnnn. Choking, tight sound, breath caught as her eyes flew open, then squeezed shut. "Unn." Stretching, pulling, full... and then she could breathe again as the ache dissolved.

Oh God. Breathless rasp in the semi- darkness, inaudible. Spike's shoulders locked to support his head as it snapped back, his whole spinal column electrified as he sank inside her.

"Precious?"

"Tight." Buffy smiled up at his concerned face.

"Too tight?"

"Oh no. Just tight enough."

"Amen to that." He moved, nice and slow, a different type of dance than the one they'd shared a few hours ago. Just his hips in a circle, no thrusting yet. Not until she gave him the right sign.

She was going to go crazy if he just lay there, packed inside her, unmoving, making her walls do a hundred little pulses, but never relieve the deep twinges she felt when he was near her. Now that he was inside her, it was a million times worse. Buffy hadn't thought that was possible. With a frustrated noise leaking from under his skillful mouth, she pushed her hips up against him.

"Good?"

"Good. More?"

"Didn't want to push you." He murmured.

"You're the one who never pushes." She reminded him.

Spike preened. "You meant it, didn't you?"

"Meant what?" Although she knew already.

" 'Bout you. Me."

"Yeah. I meant that."

The preening stopped. "I never thought I'd hear you say it."

"Never thought I'd say it again. I was scared to. I told you that." Buffy ran her fingers through his hair, fluffing it out, making him look younger, not so hardbitten.

"Something must have changed."

"You." She said blithely, but then shook her head the next second. "Me, too. Everything, the way I look at the world, actually."

Spike stopped holding himself above her, tucking his hands along her neck as he moved experimentally inside of her. "Sorry this place is such a far cry from heaven, Baby."

Her eyes rolled back as he hit a deep spot inside her, a well of pleasure instantly unlocked. Seeing her reaction he moved again, insistently, harder and faster inside her.

"But I keep tryin' to make this place better for you." He wanted to close his eyes. Being in her was the most wonderful sensation he'd ever felt. A thousand times warmer and sweeter than he could ever have believed possible. Yet if he closed his eyes to focus on the sense of touch, he wouldn't see her thrashing slightly, head twisting, body writhing with his as she let go of the last pieces of fear and came home to him.

She couldn't form words, just nodded. Thoughts narrowed down to the familiar almost-awareness she'd experienced in heaven. In his arms, in this world with him, in this one night- she knew everything and everyone she loved was okay. She wasn't finished- but for the first time ever she had something that heaven hadn't shown her. She was whole. Completed without being done. Just as she was, in this earthly realm, as long as she was with him.

"I don't want heaven back." She whispered hoarsely, out of place, several moments later as they were careening to a climax. "If I can have us instead."

What's she saying, she can't mean it, I'm nowhere near a consolation prize. "No, Slayer, don't-"

"I can go back to heaven one day- but we only one chance to be together!" She sounded like she was on the verge of tears, frustrated and close to peaking, not wanting to have to explain.

"We're together, Luv, together, together. Always be together, little more every day, every night." That was all the energy he had left for words now, lifting her up under him, matching the pulse of her blood as it beat in the arteries around her slick tunnel, urging him to let loose, urging her to let it free. That's all I wanted. To have her back, to have another chance, to play this game... I thought it was the second chance, didn't know second chances would lead to only chances. Gotta take 'em when you find 'em. "Thought I lost you forever." He bit down on her shoulder as she dug her slim fingers hard into his back, her teeth gnashed closed as the blood rush consumed her.

"One more thing left to do- one more game left to play with my- partner." She panted out before the final spasm occurred. "Spike! Oh, Spike, there, yes, finally!"

"Finally!" He agreed as she pulled his essence right out of him, not only physically, heart-wise too. He poured everything he had down on her, buckling the mattress, and tearing the sheets where his fingers gripped the fabric up in his balled fists as they moaned and rode the pleasure as one.


"Oh. Ohhh. Oh, God, am I breathing? I think I'm- breathing, right?" Buffy panted as Spike crashed down on her, both of them utterly spent, still locked together in a fluid torrent.

"Yeah. I'm not. Good thing, or might've burst a lung." Spike panted as well, not sure how his mechanics worked, only knowing he was struggling to speak. She laughed as he eased out and off. His heart, already so swollen, began to split its seams as she immediately curled right to his side, head on his bicep. Her breathing slowed as he kissed her ear and smoothed the passion damp hair from her neck.

"Whoa. Good workout." Buffy laughed.

"Best ever." He nipped her shoulder softly. She nodded and sighed softly. "You- uh- you feelin' alright?"

"Mmm, heavenly." She said drowsily, and fluttered her eyes in confusion. Then shrugged. Go with the feeling. Bliss, completion, warmth, safety...Love. She was falling asleep already, though she ached to stay awake and marvel with him. However, weeks of worry, stress, and trying to adjust lost their final foothold in her mind and spirit as she felt his hands soothing her in the afterglow. Sleep crept over her. Should tell him one more time. "Love you."

"Love you, too." Spike smiled down on her. Poor little thing. She ran a marathon in her own personal hell. Just crossed the finish line and she collapses. But I've got her. Got her safe, in my arms. He tightened his hold on her. "Sleep, Baby. Wake you in a few, get you home before they worry." She nodded sleepily and kissed the forearm cradling her head, making him a laugh ripple silently inside his chest.

He was exhausted as well, he'd ran this race with her, for her. But he couldn't sleep now, he had to watch this miracle. His miracle, sleeping on him. Her heartbeat dropped another few notches, and her breathing deepened. Her muscles did one final twitch. "Shh. Got you."

Buffy nodded, no longer properly awake, drifting off. Said I love you. One more thing, one more thing I was gonna tell him. Gonna tell Spike if we ever got the chance. Her final coherent thought before passing into slumber emerged in a soft, dreamy voice. "You won."

He blinked hard, mainly to keep a stray tear from hitting her face, waking her back up. We're gonna be okay. Look at my prize. Just look at her. Hear her. He smiled as he lay his head to hers, hearing her heartbeat, feeling her breathe, watching a hazy smile drift across her face. She gets me. I get her.

"You're right, Luv. I won."

The End

(A Happy One)