Offers You Can't Refuse

By Sweetprincipale

Late S. 3 AU. Buffy's only way to stay alive and expose a plot by the corrupt Quentin Travers involves staying out of Sunnydale and staying one step ahead while Giles finds a way to save her life and get the evidence to stop the corrupt Head of the Council. But who watches the Slayer's back when she's the prey? If the motivation is right, Spike will do anything to help the woman he loves.

Author's Note: Some smuttiness! Also, the lyrics of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" are quoted in this chapter.

Dedicated to: Skeezixx, Jewel74, The Three March Hares, Ginar369, Alexiarrose, Sirius120, micmoc,Embers and Flames, Omslagspapper, Rosalea12, SushiBar, Touch the Dark, ValidescopeWest, Rachel, Cavementftw, ammuna, marty powell, Sanity Fair, Seapea, Blade Redwind, Maire Ailbhe, Illusera, ShyL, mike13z50, PeaceHeather, and SarahlovesA.

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

Part XXI

Day Twenty...

"I'm back, I'm safe, what happened to you?" Giles didn't even stop at his own place to shower and shave, though he did allow the cabbie to slow down to about five miles per hour in order to allow Wesley to stumble out in front of his flat.

"Giles! Giles! It's Giles!" Buffy shouted excitedly.

Spike huffily turned down the television. "Well about bloody time. Tell him to hurry up or we'll never find out if Sofia accepts the bank robber's proposal."

"Shut up."

"Bank robbers? Sofia?" Giles demanded.

"Soap operas. It was either that or Barney. Or fifteen easy steps to improve my fishing lure tying skills."

Utterly flabbergasted, Giles could only make a puzzled start to his sentence. "I..."

"We don't have cable, but that's not the point! What did they say? Are we in the clear, and are they going to lock up Travers? In a hell dimension? And are you okay, did they freak, did they threaten to take you to Watcher jail?" She paused for breath- and a smidge of extra compassion. "Oh. Yeah. Is Wesley alive?"

Giles rubbed his head. "I have jet lag, Buffy. Only one question at a time."

"Right, so are we-"

"Me first, this time." The stubbled and somewhat bleary eyed Watcher insisted. "Your mother said you were attacked and you were fine. That's like reading a book with all the pages torn out between the first and the last, Buffy."

Buffy's voice lowered. "Is my Mom standing right there?"

"Erm. Yes."

"Tell her to go away. Say you need coffee or something."

"I do, actually. Joyce, could I trouble you for a cup of- oh thank you, most kind."

"Bloody hell." Spike sank back on the couch and put the open dictionary over his wearily closing eyes. "Wake me when it's over, Slayer."

"I see you and Spike must have continued to put aside your differences." Giles mumbled, looking furtively behind him to make sure Joyce wasn't around.

"Yeah. No. I mean, sometimes. We had a big argument yesterday, but... yeah." Buffy stammered in a guilty rush. From under the book, one bright blue eye gave her a scoffing glance. She kicked his ankle. "Let's leave it at 'sometimes'."

"He is protecting you? That is, you don't need 'protection' -"

'Cause vampires can't knock you up, Buffy thought, completely inappropriately, a little insane giggle fighting to be released.

"-I suppose I should've said, is he 'assisting' you."

"He has my back, Giles. Totally. He's um-" so amazing when he fights for me. I mean, fights. Just fights, "-really good at this. Totally has my back." She repeated, risking a glance at him. She saw a hugely pleased smirk just before he retreated back under the cover of the book.

"I have something he desperately wants, thank goodness." Giles sighed thankfully.

Hey. He does it for me. Buffy fought down the silly pang of jealousy. "Yep. Working hard for that Mirrored Eye deal."

"Menfra's- oh never mind! Your mother is clinking china around, so we haven't got much time. What happened?"

"It was really cloudy, and the power was out. No, it had come back on. No, I don't remember if they came when it was on or off, but Spike went out to the car to get something and-"

In exasperation, he hissed,"Quickly! The type, the description, how many, what ploy did they use, the outcome. Go."

"You're turning into a Wesley." Buffy muttered petulantly.

"Perish the thought. Though, oddly enough, he's- Buffy! Concentrate!"

Giles' frustrated cry reached Spike's ears and his book-muffled voice chimed in, "Not bloody likely, Watcher."

"Tell me, please. I've been worried sick."

"That's my Watcher." Buffy cooed, secretly very comforted just to hear his voice and his "researchiness" and kindness kicking in. "Okay, first, they were huge. And stakes did not work! Oh, and they could make walls of blue fire and they would just stay there. But when we killed them, the fire went away. Right away, poof, but still, not before someone totally saw them and we were in bed and this ranger-"

"Buffy!" Both men in her life hissed, for very different reasons, Giles wanting her to focus, Spike warning her not to slip the hell up.

"Right, no big deal." Buffy put her head briefly in her palm. "They had this disgusting crackly, gross skin and these weird eyes and- just ick. Giles, why do all demons have to be so icky?"


"Oh, not like vampires." Buffy hastily placated.

"What?" Giles gaped.

"I mean- the human part, I mean, these things were really, really disgusting. Um. Would you like to speak to the resident demon about them? You know, get the insider perspective?" Before he could answer, Buffy shoved the phone against Spike's ear.


"Be right back!" She prepared to scoot off the couch.

"Slayer, you can't-"

"Girl emergency." Buffy lied.

Spike cocked his head at her suspiciously, and she guiltily sat down. "This is the resident expert. How was merry old England? Did you stick it to the bastard?"

"Hello, lovely, and we tried." Giles sighed. "Report, please?"

"Five of 'em. A leader, four lackeys, from a hell dimension, I'm pretty sure. They don't go up in the sun, they don't care about a sharp stick to the heart, but they sure as hell don't like water. Puts out the fire in 'em, which by the way, I mean literally. You know those cheesy little flare papers magicians stick on their fingertips? They had 'em built in."

"How did they find you?" Giles put his head in his hands. Joyce put the coffee down beside him and pulled up a chair. "Joyce, this really isn't-"

"She's my child. I'm not budging."

"Right. Hrm. Well, ah- how did they come to find you?"

Spike spoke in a softer voice, urging Buffy to take the phone with a snap of his fingers and waving her towards him as he concluded, "They track blood. Someone set 'em on her. They don't much care for humans though, went off a bit about how demons were the beverage of choice and they wanted to go home, all that. Here. Buffy'll talk to you about the rest."

Joyce, trying to overhear, and getting annoyed that Giles seemed to be deliberately moving away from her as she leaned forward, thought she vaguely recognized the snippets of voice she could hear. She just couldn't put a name or face to it, but she had a feeling she'd heard the voice before. "Let me talk to her." Joyce insisted.

"Joyce, please-"

"Mom, hang on-"

"Now listen to me, both of you!"

"How'd I end up in the middle of this?" Spike retreated back into his papery refuge.

A short time (and several interruptions) later...

"They sound like something I read about years ago. Merely a footnote, as they don't usually concern themselves in human realms. They prefer demon blood, mentioned as in some way related to the demonic presences found in vampires. Sanguis, Sanguine, Sang... something to do with blood."

"Yeah, yeah, blood suckers, they have a thing for me." Buffy groaned. Spike peeped out from under the cover long enough to risk a wink- and catch her blushing. "We made them go poof. Not so much 'poof' as 'dissolve in a gritty, inky, hard to get out of jeans way'." Buffy concluded blithely.

"Yes, thank God." Giles sighed.

"How'd they find me anyway?" Buffy asked moodily.

"That's a very good question."

"Blood. Leavin' a trail." Spike contributed.

"Are you injured?"

"No! Just little scrapes and stuff." Buffy shrugged.

"That'd be enough for certain kinds of demons. 'Specially Slayer blood. Slayer blood is-" He trailed off, fighting to keep both the poetic and demonic elements in his nature under wraps before he could rhapsodize or vamp. "It's the good stuff. Potent."

Buffy reflexively scooted away. "Great. I'm not only fated to die young but I'm also the equivalent of a gym sock."

Spike launched himself off the couch. "I'm out." He passed behind her- paused, and licked her neck swiftly, before she could stop him, sense him, a harsh swipe against her pulse. "Champagne. Best in the house." He breathed and left the room, walking slightly stiff-legged, just from a single taste.

"Buffy. Buffy?"

"Huh? I'm here!" Buffy watched him go, a fingertip now resting lightly where his tongue had traced roughly and quickly over her skin. So primitive, so animal. Mildly disgusting, since he also was tasting me like sneaking icing off the top of a cake.

He needs to do that again.

"You may not have seen the last of them. And I imagine, with such formidable foes, you may have been injured?"

"Yeah. Spike almost died. Buy one, get one style, fiery death and decapitation special." Buffy's eyes drifted down the hall, following invisible footprints of the man who helped save her life, or at least protect it, three times in under three weeks. Damn, talk about a team player. Not for a team, for me. Partners.

"You, Buffy, were you hurt?"

"Some, yeah. But I'm not worried about that, Giles."

"I am. They can hunt you and create a trail from a single drop of blood. They can come after you at any time!"

"They won't if they're smart. I sent a message. I'm the Slayer. This is my power. Travers can't have it."

"I agree, Buffy, but you're not invincible. All Slayers do eventually die." Before their Watchers, ninety nine times out of a hundred. She can't die. I can't live through it.

"Maybe they were afraid to live with the Slayer inside." Buffy countered snappishly, even though she knew he was right.

Down the hall, in the doorway that was still open, Spike felt that rush of pride, of power by osmosis. Even if he hated half the things she did and said- he loved the other half. She's the real thing.

I keep sayin' that... He pushed the thought from his mind, to busy eavesdropping to wonder what that meant exactly, and continued to listen, to hear her half of conversation.

Giles was flummoxed for a moment. "Buffy, this is not the time to discuss metaphysical states of being. Afraid of your power, possessed of it or not, you are a mortal and can die, and these beings are not of world and hardly your typical... adversary." Giles' speech slowed.

"Ooh, I know that voice. Mom, did he just take his glasses off?" She raised her voice at the end so her mother could hear her question.

He had indeed, looking raptly into the distance. "There are very few people able to call up one demon, let alone five terribly rare and powerful ones, and then to control them! Travers may be many things, but he has never seemed well versed in the dark branches of magic."

"You sure about that?" Buffy asked dubiously.

"In spite of his recent actions, yes, I'm fairly sure. However- there are a few texts in existence that contain spells of great power, spells to bind evil and evil things to do your will."

"I'm not liking the creepy mystical voice, Giles, can you revert back to 'Buffy failed high school English' language please?"

"You failed?" Joyce screeched.

"Um. Not now, Mom, Giles is talking." Buffy added another thing to her list of "If I survive this, I will die from fill-in-the-blank."

"It was a C- minus, and I believe with that paper Willow handed in for you while you had the flu, it averaged out to a solid C." Giles quelled both females. "My point was, there are rare texts that are in existence which would give anyone who can read them the ability to control the demons hunting you. One book in particular I can think of, the - the latin is a bit obscure, but it translates out to The Book of Summonings, for Those Past the Gates of Hell."

"Catchy title." Buffy paled and she knew instinctively that her mother was doing the same.

"We've worked hard to destroy books like that, Buffy. They're too dangerous to have in the world. However," he sighed heavily, "there's always the idea that one should have knowledge of what one is trying to fight, so-"

"So? Why is there always a so?" Buffy moaned.

"The Watchers' Council Library has a copy. At least they did when I was there." Giles rubbed his rapidly lining brow.

"We know it was Travers." Buffy didn't see the huge deal.

"I know that. The rest of the Council doesn't. Oh they believe something is off, and they're doing their own bit of investigation. But this- if the Council library is missing that book, that heavily guarded book which only Travers, the Head Librarian, and the Head of the Academy have access to- it is very powerful evidence indeed."

"Can you call the librarian and have them look to see if it's missing?"

"Not the librarian, per se, but a trusted friend. If it's gone, and it hasn't been withdrawn through the proper channels- it's another nail in his coffin, a nail that isn't hearsay or conjecture. It does mean stating that you're alive. That you survived an attack from them. That you contacted me."

"That's going to put you at risk!" Buffy shook her head angrily. "Big time risk! They'll be after you for real, not just poking around your apartment while you're out."

"And aren't you just as much at risk? Knowing he could call up horde after horde of the worst hell creatures imaginable? I don't think he'd do anything on a grand scale, but enough to kill you, certainly."

"I'm already in danger!"

"As am I. As are we all. Until it's done. You can hide, but if these things can trace you..."

"I'm still hiding. I'm done running." Buffy whispered. Someday soon, I'm going to be done hiding too. This isn't what Slayers do. I am the Slayer. I am. "They know I'm alive. That magic seeker thing proved it, no one's been called to take my place. You don't know where I am, and if Travers sends anyone else after me... we can take 'em." She said bravely.

He swallowed. "I will bring you home." Giles whispered in a constricted voice, turning away from his audience of one.

"Duh. That's totally your job." She smiled so the tears would stay in. "Tell them what you have to. Say I called from a pay phone, say whatever you have to. Tell them I'm pissed and the demons told me it was Travers. So did the vampire, according to- yeah, so did the vampire."

"I may not need to say all that yet. I'll have someone lay the groundwork with the book in conjecture." He became brisk. "Very well then. I'm quite exhausted and-"

"What about your trip? You owe me details, I just dished!"

"Dish, as you call it, more, but to your mother. I need a lie down. And a safe place to call an old friend."

"Hello?" Robson answered the phone tentatively, half-expecting to hear the voice of doom in his ear, Fallows' cold stentorian tones telling him he was about to be excommunicated from the sanctum of his profession.

"It's me."

"What's wrong?"

"Listen, I'll be quick and keep it short, you can say I was a wrong number and rang off if anyone starts poking about in your affairs. The Book of Summonings- the big one, the worst one, you know the one-"

"The one."

"Yes. She was attacked by the sanguis the- oh dash it, you know the name, the full demons, predecessor of vampires, the blood drinkers, the blood hunters-"

"Bugger the name, is she alright?"

"She is, by the grace of God and an undead street hooligan." Giles was back at the corner pay phone of his infrequently visited pub, muffling spell hovering about him.

"Come again?"

"See if the book is missing. See if he has it."

"I doubt he checked it out!"

"As do I. It's used maybe once a year, for those about to join ranks, one quick glimpse of what exists beyond the normal realms of evil to make us all less frightened of mere vampires." His eyes darted around once again. "If it's there, let me know. And if it isn't-"

"I'll let you, and Fallows will know as well."

Day Twenty One ...

"That is a highly unusual book to go missing. Thank you, Robson, I'll add it to the list of things we're looking into." Fallows hung up his phone and turned to his quartet of colleagues who were still present with him, long term guests of his estate while they sorted a few things out.

"That doesn't necessarily mean anything." One protested, hearing about the loss of the highly dangerous volume.

"No... What does concern me, gentlemen, is the abrupt departure of Collins from- hm- threat removal."

"That's nothing strange! I talked to Emmet about that myself this morning, when I was trying to nose around about Spears. By the way- nothing suspicious."

"If Collins or one of his underlings carried it out, there wouldn't be. That's why we retain them and how we trained them, Newcomb."

Newcomb waved a hand dismissively. "It still remains a coincidence. The man has a dying uncle in the States! Surely a man can visit a sick relative. He's never taken any time off."

"That's what concerns me." Fallows sat down. "We are the elite. We don't necessarily mix with the 'worker bees' like we did when we were young, getting our hands dirty, training our potentials, letting them go after they turned twenty six, never one making it to that 'Chosen' state..."

"Don't flannel on, Harold, get to the point."

"I worked with Collins' senior, before he hrm- switched departments. I remember when they were expecting their second child. He said how glad he and his wife were, because both of them knew the loneliness of being an only child."

The room was silent for a mere second. "I doubt Emmet was concerned about the details of Collins' request. Uncle, great uncle, a family friend he considers an uncle, it hardly matters." Newcomb argued.

"I think it matters." Harbin, the youngest of this small and curious section of the board, pulled a fax out of the office's creaking and beeping machine. "It's a bit blurred, I'll take a look. Fallows, honestly, that fax was made fifteen years ago, get something new, there is no glory in old electronics, they aren't like fine furniture."

"Critique my business tools later, Harbin, what does it say?"

"It's from that secretary. The soon to be Mrs. Robson. We might want to move her from the secretary position and into something more useful, gentlemen." He held out several sheets of paper. "Fifteen thousand pounds went into Mr. Collins' account two days ago."

"Perhaps the dying relative cleared up part of his inheritance early."

"Possible. But," Harbin flipped to the second page, "Travers' private discretionary account has also dropped about eighteen thousand pounds in the last two and half weeks."

"Right around the time he requested Willets to search for her..."

"Fifteen thousand went two days ago." Harbin ran a finger down the ledger.

"Now, seriously, I do think that's a bit beyond the pale, hacking into a man's personal account! All Heads of Council have always had that discretionary fund, and no one ever needed to question Travers' spending habits before."

"That's right. That's why he assumed it would be safe, no one ever needed to examine his habits before. Look, he hasn't moved more than a few hundred pounds out per year in the last three years. Now, all at once- thousands? If I could get in touch with the bank itself, I could see where it went to precisely. All the secretary could do was show us some statements. She's rather overstepped her bounds there." Harbin paused, admiringly. "What do you think, Surveillance? Or perhaps Research?"

"Let us leave her career prospects for the time being." Fallows looked at the grandfather clock in the corner of his office. "That linguist should be here within the hour. I have the tape ready for him. After that, well-"

"Gentlemen, I put it to a vote. Do we call a full meeting of the Council Board? Minus Travers?"

"That'll alarm him no end!"

"If he's innocent he shouldn't have reason to be alarmed. And at any rate the Council is largely in unquestioning support of him. It'll be our job to sway them. We are the Davids. He is the Goliath here."

"Terribly Old Testament of you, old man, but we're risking ridicule and an end to careers, family tradition, family shame..."

"Would you rather live in blissful ignorance while he hunts down an innocent girl- for some unknown, undiscussed reason that should at the very least have been mentioned in a memo?"

Sighs all around.

"If the linguist confirms Pryce's story- we call the meeting?" No one spoke. He persisted. "Those in favor?"

All hands, some more slowly than others, were raised.

"Didn't we just get groceries? Why is there nothing but milk and bread? And eggs?"

"I don't know, you carried 'em in." Spike shrugged.

"I carried in the one bag, the bag you were scared to touch." Buffy shut the fridge, pulling the milk out.

"Not scared! Just not my things..." He replied uncomfortably. "And why are we up so early? It's not even ten." They'd tacitly resumed their combined, semi-nocturnal schedule, so that they spent most of their waking moments with some company.

"Because I'm hungry! I'm always uber hungry during this... yeah. I'm starving. So where'd you put them?"

"Put what?"

"The rest of the groceries! I've got bread with nothing to put on it and milk with no cereal and a complete lack of Pringles."

"Oh, that's right. My cigs and my beef jerky." Spike suddenly seemed interested.

"Yeah, that." Buffy rolled her eyes. "Seriously, where'd you put them."

"I didn't! I got out of the car and got the ruddy door, I left the bags on top of the trunk for you. 'Specially the one bag. With the- lady things in it." He coughed and frowned at the pattern on the wooden walls as if it were supremely engaging.

"I got the roof straps and two of the bags, including the bag of with the cooties." She waggled her fingers at him with a look of exasperation, then stormed past him, not caring if he jumped a little as she opened the front door.


"They're probably still by the car if neither of us carried them in." Buffy called over her shoulder.

In three seconds, he was behind her, wrapped in his coat and cursing as he talked about how far into the clearing he'd parked, and how far it was from the house, all a matter of not being seen- and the fact that her wandering off was going to get her killed.

"I'm not 'wandering off', I'm getting breakfast! And you did so carry in one of the bags, I know I saw you , and it looked like- ooh."

"Bloody hell." Spike groaned. They both drew up abruptly at the side of the car. Paper bag remains trailed off into the woods, along with wrappers, boxes, and jars.

"Oh no!" Buffy gasped, looking at the remains of their hour plus trek into town.

"Probably raccoons." Spike peered into the dense trees.

"First they think we started fires, now littering. I can bet Smoky the Bear is using my picture as a dartboard..." Buffy started picking up the trash.

Spike stared at the trash strewn ground for a few seconds before exclaiming, "Oi! My cigs are gone, too!" He ran a few paces in, letting his coat slide down to his shoulders once he was in the shade of the trees. He picked up a chewed open, empty box. "Little bastards!"

"Oh yes, that's very important. The dead guy can't smoke." Buffy muttered.

"Found some of the packs!" He ignored her, jubilantly finding several packs scattered in the immediate area.

"Spike! There's some little woodland creature out here who's going to get addicted to non-filtered menthols and it'll be all your fault!" She threw a chewed through half cleaned out jar of of peanut butter at his head and it bounced off.

"Ow. Nice shot." He turned and growled, then smiled. "Stop whinin', we'll get more stuff for you. Have the rangers fetch it up here by tomorrow, or we can run down to town tonight."

Buffy sighed and gingerly picked up an empty Pringles can that was shredded at the top. "Can you get rabies from touching raccoon spit?"

"Maybe if the raccoon had rabies?" He tossed two packs away, they were damp from being on the wet forest floor all night.

"That's so not helpful." Buffy scooped things into the remains of a bag.

"Steaks!" Spike cried suddenly, looking around at the grocery wreckage and realizing something was missing.

"I have one! Who is it? Where are they?" Buffy pulled a stake from her waistband and crouched down at the side of the car.

"No, steaks! Meat sort, not wooden sort. I did carry in a bag, it had steaks in it. Remember? I said I was tired of catching all my meals on the hoof, and even though that sad excuse for a market didn't have a proper butcher, I wanted steaks. Put 'em in the fridge with the milk."

"Your point?" Buffy just stared as she tucked the stake away.

"I'll share." Honestly, what did she think the point was? Fluff for brains, that one.

She paused in the midst of her trash collecting. "For a guy who's probably going to give squirrels nicotine poisoning, you're pretty nice."

He beamed. "Pop down to the rangers' later and place an order. They'll deliver. Remember? We're on our 'honeymoon'."

She blushed at that accidental answer, blushed harder because they'd both said it so automatically. Together. "We can run to town, it's far but it's not like-"

"You may have called out the bastard, but it's still not nice to send up red flags, okay? Once a week is enough public appearances for you, Slayer." All my heart can stand. They fell into step walking back to the house.

"But I'm bored. And hungry." She whined.

"So I'll cook."

"You know how to cook?"

"It's steak. Take beef, add fire, how hard could that be?" He shrugged easily.

Buffy suddenly lost her appetite. "You know, on second thought-"

"Slayer..." He gave her a "don't you start" look.

"No, wait- I have eggs and bread and milk- ooh, French toast."

"You don't trust my cooking?"

"I don't trust you around fire."

"I was pretty good in front of the fireplace the other night, wasn't I?"

Oh hell yeah, he was. How can he make me so crazy and so happy? How can it start to be overlapping into just this sort of general... crazy about him, happy with him thing? I'm not crazy about him. I'm... I'm... "I'm going nuts waiting around up here for Travers to make a move or for the Council to fire him!" She dropped the trash again and balled her fists in frustration. Hey eyed her apprehensively and she let out a long sigh. "Sorry. Wanna go for a walk?"

"Now?" He looked at the sun through the trees.

"A drive?"

"You drivin'? No."


"Get in the car."

"Okay, Mr. Mood Swing, I'll go get the phone and my purse and m-"

"No, just get in the car." He took her by the elbow and turned her. "Front seat, Slayer, don't get any ideas." He opened the door, taking the keys from his pocket and turning on the car, but not starting it.

"What are we doing?" She asked, scooting in next to him.

"Makin' ourselves crazy in a different location."

They turned the radio on, and left the seat belts off, sliding closer and closer as the songs went on, just listening, just talking, about music and stupid commercials, and the lack of quality reception.

"We used to do this. Before we had the telly. You know? Go to operas and clubs and concerts. Then radio came along. Still preferred the clubs and the concerts."

"Well, yeah, you can't eat someone through the radio." Buffy giggled lazily, hunger temporarily forgotten, sitting in the dim car, still somehow warm from the sun filtering through.

"Hardee har har." He elbowed her lightly. "But you got a point."

"You're kinda cool. For a vampire. You talk about things you did, not just people you ate." Unlike certain evil people. Or non-evil yet majorly broody people. Buffy sighed and let her head rest on his shoulder. His arm came around her waist and pulled her closer.

"I didn't become a vampire to eat people. I did it- to be something better. I thought."

She looked up at him. "You thought?"

I knew. Back then. Damn confusin' bint. "Without someone in your life, immortality lacks the sparkle, Cutie." He said gruffly. He hadn't touched her too much lately, not in the last day. Now he let his hand touch her chest, then her stomach. She didn't pull away.

"Wanna know a secret?" Buffy enjoyed the weight of his palm against her achey insides.

"Sure." His eyebrows raised involuntarily.

"Regular mortality sucks without someone in your life, too." She blinked a streak of blonde hair out of her eyes.

"You still have a chance." He muttered.

"So do you! And I don't. Not with him."

"I dunno, Slayer." Who do you take chances with? What chances do you take?

"I don't know either." She hesitantly let her hand connect with his on her side. Traced his fingertips with hers. All of his hand with hers. She never touched him like that, just to touch him, to show him... whatever this was.

He hissed quietly. Even her hands, so warm and so dextrous, did things to him. He rested his lips to her hair. Then the curve of her ear. His hand moved down slowly. Her legs pulled up, scrunched into the seat, her back to his chest.

"Wanna find a different station?" Buffy whispered, letting her hand flow down with his, no longer sure she was in control of herself. Slayer side gone, normal side gone, all one big feeling of completion- and missing a part at the center. When she was close to him, the nagging sensation that she was "missing something" went away.

"I like the station. I like listening to this. Reminds of when I did things, not just waited for things to happen." Dru to forgive me, Angel to leave, enemies to attack, trinkets to be delivered. Back when I was the one who called the shots.

"You're making this happen." Buffy whispered, and tipped her head back.

"No, we make this happen." He looked down at her.

"Half of the action is better than none."

She was wrong. Being half of the action was the best of all. Being alone meant there was no action. Not of the fun kind, anyway. "All I ever wanted was to be half. Wanted all of the other, and give 'em all right back. Wasn't meant to be alone."

"Neither was I. You think for all the time you're growing up that you'll be a girlfriend. Maybe a long, looong time in the future you'll even be a wife. You never think to yourself, 'Ooh, maybe today I'll wake up with a destiny and be chosen to live a life of scary monsters, being alone, and premature death'."

He shifted and said brusquely, "You're not gonna die prematurely, Slayer. I won't let you." He grumbled to mask the sincerity of his words. "One of us oughta get what we were hopin' for."

His hand had stopped moving resting on her zip, her fingers over top of his. Eyes had stopped connecting, and now were back together. He's not joking. He means it.

I love that.

"Turn the radio up." She half turned, twisted, arm coming around his neck as his dragged her up to smother her in a kiss. Whatever we're doing, I don't want to think about it. I just want to do it. The familiar hum of her rising pulse beat double time to the ballad crackling out.

Listen to the wind blow

Watch the sun rise

Run in the shadows

Damn your love

Damn your lies

"Thought you said-"

"I did, but this isn't anything serious." I mean physically serious. Just making out. In a car. Half the high schoolers in America do this every weekend.


Eyes locked again, before they both shut them to the truth.

And if

You don't love me now

You will never love me again

I can still hear you saying

You would never break the chain

Hands were still fumbling together, between her legs as the kisses became more breathless, more desperate.

I'm not supposed to do this, I'm not supposed to do this ever, but really not now.

Not inside, just outside, just make her cum for me, and scream for me, and she'll learn to come to me.

"You don't have to open up." He bit her lobe softly as he whispered in it. "This isn't about being in your hot little box. It's about bein' in your pretty little head."

"You already know me way too well." She protested, and left the pull of her zipper alone.

"Keep your enemies close- and your lovers closer."

"That sounds wrong."

He looked at her with a sad smile in his eyes.

"Oh. Yeah."

Listen to the wind blow

Down comes the night

Run in the shadows

Damn your love

Damn your lies

He worked against her, and she against him. His kneading fingers strong enough to bunch the fabric to a sodden mass and make her feel as if his bare skin was on hers. Rubbing, pulling, forcing her to rock against him in self preservation as instincts took over and her stiff fingers ripped open his belt buckle.

Break the silence

Damn the dark

Damn the light



Rough wet fabric to him and he groaned. His fingers dug into her ass to pull her hard, the wettest "dry" sex he'd ever had. She was just so juicy. So wet and hot and - he could smell blood and lust, and for once it didn't turn into blood lust. "I bet you look beautiful in red." He whispered and did the unthinkable, hand down her trousers, to her wet panties, making her gasp, a mixture of shock and shame. And want. "I won't." He whispered. He felt her shiver and strain. "But I like knowing you want me to."

She pushed him back hard to the driver's seat, making his skull bounce against the head rest and her cheeks caught the steering wheel, letting out one sharp honk in the silent forest. "Don't be a jerk. I'm trusting you. I'm- I'm-" I'm loving you.

"I was showing you can trust me too. I don't just have your back anymore, Baby. I have your front." He kissed the apex of her throat. "I have your secrets." I could've had your heart, maybe I can borrow it...

"You have a funny way of showing it." But she released him, and they ground together again, hands now working away alongside the friction of fabric to his rod.

"Only ever loved one woman in a century. Maybe I'm too old to learn new tricks."

And if

You don't love me now

You will never love me again

I can still hear you saying

You would never break the chain.

"You never give up. I saw you. You can do anything."

"Maybe you inspire me."

"Maybe it's a two-way street." She leaned down and captured his mouth as he rutted against her, up her thigh, leaving a slick, wet trail, not unlike the trail she was leaving inside.

"Buffy..." A little rasp of pleading under all the lust.

"Radio off." She followed her own advice. His hand fell. Hers didn't. "I don't know what we're doing. But maybe we could go do the rest of it inside?"

"Sure." He said eagerly, in surprise.

"Not all the way. Just some."

"Until someday." He finished the by now familiar rejoinder. It's startin' to sound hollow.

But neither of them said that.

Or maybe it just won't ring true anymore. He took her hand and she clung right to his arm. I don't know what's true anymore.

Damn your love.

Damn your lies.

To be continued...