Spike crouches down in the corner of his crypt, one shaking hand over his eyes. Buffy is asleep on the floor, her beautiful form shrouded in the covers that have fallen off his bed, tumbling down with them as they'd wrestled in passion. He can't remember if he was satisfied or not; in the moment of it, he could think of nothing but to please her, to love her, to make her feel.

Now he just sits, his throbbing back against a wall, his body aching from toes to thighs to throat. He's aware of each scratch on his biceps – gouge marks from her fingernails – and every half-circle in his neck and shoulders where she bit him over and over again. With one thumbnail, he rubs against the paint on the other hand, chipping, grinding, peeling off the black to the pale fleshy color underneath.

Eventually the stillness and the steady sound of her sleeping breaths rouse him to restless action. He crosses to his refrigerator, pulls out a mason jar, and drinks a quarter-cup of blood in one swig. His forehead twitches as the demon within him tastes the nectar of life and seeks more, but Spike resists the transformation, re-seals the jar, and closes the fridge door with a muted slam.

Not enough.

He takes down a bottle of Bourbon from on top of the fridge and twists out the cork with his teeth, spitting it into an unlit candle on one of the empty stone caskets in the mausoleum. Nothing like a little liquid courage, fierce as sunlight but with a debonair hint of blueberry and hazelnut. He tips back his head and lets the harsh, thin fluid burn down his throat. How many gallons of the stuff would it take for his vampire liver to pop like the Gentleman's heads? He swallows his mouthful of Bourbon, and a quiet snarl escapes his lips.

Still not enough.

Looking around aimlessly, Spike's eyes zero in on a little, white cardboard box in the back pocket of his discarded black jeans. But that one is too close to the bed, so he spots another half-empty cigarette pack on top of the TV. Stalking over to it, he shakes the pack in his hand until a cig pops out the top, then snags it in his teeth and looks around for his . . . lighter . . .

And he remembers that brilliantly sunny morning, recalls wresting the silver lighter out of the front pocket of her jeans, his hand teasing her violently, mocking her refusal. She'd paid him back, of course, made him suffer so much for that little moment, but he'd taken all the wrath she'd thrown at him, anything just for another minute of being with her, holding her, pleasing her, loving her.

He loves her. God, he loves her so much it'll kill him, and that's not even considering the chance that one night when she's got him cuffed to the bed she'll get so angry at herself that she'll stake him, straight through the chest, poof him like all the others.

That's how it's supposed to end, one or the other: Slayer stakes vampire, or vampire kills Slayer, sucks her dry, and picks his teeth with her bones.

But he sodding loves the girl, loves her so much his lack-of-soul aches. So he gives her his body. Night after night after night he worships her as she shreds his heart, his pain for her pleasure. And no matter how much she insists that he's "just convenient," and that she could never love a thing like him, he cannot stop, never.

Spike throws the unlit cigarette against the wall, slides down the side of the stone coffin, and cradles his head in his bony hands. He knows he could burn through another six packs of mentholated smokes tonight, but it wouldn't be enough. Never enough.

His mouth still tastes of Buffy.