A/N: Obligatory warning for some mildly naughty (or technically not naughty, because they're married now, after all) Spuffy action in this chapter. ;)
The idea for the first song came about because my roommates and I were listening to Pandora Radio while cooking for our Easter potluck, and this song came on and we all started singing . . . and I thought it was ironically perfect for Spike and Buffy. Kudos to Boolochka06 for the suggestion of 'Wind Beneath My Wings', which made me chuckle. ;)
I thought this was going to be the last part . . . but once again more bits and pieces kept popping into my brain, so . . . Surprise! This is the second-to-last chapter, and it's nice and long!
As always, all rights belong to Joss Whedon. [Also, I haven't watched Angel, so I honestly don't know if Buffy has met his coworkers before. Sorry for any continuity mistakes!]
Chapter 9: "Worship, part 2" (Season 8, Episode 4, Acts III-IV)
The elegant violin tune sounds so very familiar, but Buffy can't place it. Her hand in Spike's, she rises from her chair and accompanies him to the center of the dance floor. He slips his right arm around her waist and draws her against him, their other hands entwined between their chests.
"It's not Wind Beneath My Wings, right? Because I was totally kidding about liking that song," she hisses nervously. He snickers in a mischievous tone, kissing her forehead.
"Mentioned it at one point, but Red gave a look like she would've throttled me, and for the life of me I can't see what you fancy in that awful tune, luv."
Relieved, Buffy listens intently, still wondering what song Spike did pick for their opening dance.
"Have to warn you, my sweet," he admits, lips still kneading gently against her forehead, "been a good long while since I was a Nancy-boy and took dancing lessons, but Dawnie gave me pointers on the waltz, so I'll do my best."
He stops speaking to let her listen as a grandmotherly female voice joins the violin, and one line of lyrics is enough for her to recognize the song at last.
'Tale as old as time . . .'
"You didn't!" she whispers, snorting quietly in his ear. Back at the wedding party's table, Faith is doubled over with silent laughter, Angel looks like his eyes might unhinge themselves from over-rolling, and Dawn and Willow just look pleased fit to explode.
"Did so," Spike smirks, guiding Buffy in slow tiny circles around the center of the dance floor. "Gave it a lot of thought, mind."
"'Beauty and the Beast'? That's what you picked for our first dance?"
"As I live and breathe."
"Well, technically . . ."
Chuckling, he closes her mouth with a kiss. She gives in to the feel of his cool lips, barely aware of her feet moving beneath her, swaying back and forth in time with the song.
'Just a little change . . . small to say the least . . .'
"You're not a beast, Spike," Buffy whispers to him as the second verse of the song begins, her pale green eyes staring deeply into his effulgent blue ones.
"Was, though," Spike replies sincerely, his hand gently steering her at the waist. "I was all kinds of monster, Buffy. Wasn't just the demon havin' a couple of laughs at the expense of a few throats. I never felt alive 'till after I was dead and could do whatever I wanted. Took me a hundred years of chaos to realize there was something else . . . someone else worth living for. You."
Moved by his sweet words, Buffy glides her left hand from his shoulder up the fabric of his collar to his face, his cheekbone fitting perfectly in her palm, fingertips just twirling in the curls at his ear. They abandon the more structured waltz and continue with just a slow dance, minds and bodies wrapped in each other, ignoring the other couples that gradually appear at the edges of the dance floor. As her arms lock around his neck, Spike's cool hands curl eagerly against Buffy's lower back, seeking the skin beneath the silken white fabric, and her body responds inherently, leaning forward into him.
"Careful now, pet," he chuckles, one hand lazily skimming further down her back. "You sure know how to tempt a fella."
"You . . . started . . . it," she murmurs, eyelids fluttering closed, desire running through all her bones.
"See now, I distinctly remember you groping me back in the hallway, luv," he reminds her saucily, his lips leisurely tracing down her hairline by her right ear.
"I . . . did . . . not . . . ohh, Spike . . ."
His arms constrict slightly to pull her hips forward into his, and she gives a quick, quiet gasp that relaxes into a moan, feeling the heat at his core.
"Spike, not here . . ." she whimpers feebly. "We've still got at least half the reception left . . ."
"Like you said, pet," he grins, reluctantly relaxing his embrace, "just getting warmed up for tonight."
The familiar music ends to rapturous applause as Spike and Buffy exchange another deep kiss in the center of the dance floor. Then the DJ raises the music's volume and switches to a more modern tune, and dancing and casual conversations break out all around the reception hall. With their inseparable arms around each other's waists, Buffy and Spike return to the table at the head of the room.
"That was so beautiful, you two," Willow gushes, pink in the face from her own brief dance with Kennedy.
"Thanks, Will," smiles Buffy, contentedly leaning back against Spike, her heart still racing and her face flushed. "So, what dastardly torture do you have scheduled for us next?"
"You're off the hook for a bit. Just sit here, have some food, let people congratulate you, and don't get too . . . you know."
Spike's eyebrows rise wickedly. "Too what, Red? Gotta give a bloke his boundaries or he might . . . break all the rules."
Eyes sparkling, he nibbles on the velvet-soft lobe of Buffy's ear, earning a delighted giggle from Buffy and a warning look from Willow.
"Just . . . behave yourself. Don't . . . don't do anything you wouldn't want to see a boy doing with Dawn."
Outrage appears on the faces of both husband and wife at this suggestion, and they immediately turn a verbal barrage on the witch.
"Oh, come off it! That'd mean I can't touch her at all!" Spike complains.
"No boys are allowed anywhere near Dawnie!"
"Yeh, I'll bite the head off any whelp who so much as thinks of pawing the Niblet!"
"My point exactly," Willow shouts, waving her hands to try to calm them. "Just chat with all your well-wishers and rein yourselves in. Plenty of fun to be had tonight."
Grumbling to himself as Willow walks away, Spike pulls out Buffy's chair for her and then collapses into his own seat.
"Should've done things my way," he mutters tersely, spearing a fork into the contents of his plate. "Private ceremony . . . or better yet, just run over to the nearest courthouse the minute we crawled out'a that crater. None'a this waitin' around, self-controlled, hands-off rubbish."
"It is awfully fun to tease you, though," Buffy confesses. Maintaining steady eye-contact with her frustrated husband, she impales a piece of deviled egg on the tip of her fork, draws it near to her mouth, and then distinctly licks one edge of it. Spike's eyes seem to water, fixated with the movements of her little pink tongue.
"Sweet heavens, Buffy, I swear I'll carry you upstairs and throw you onto the nearest sodding bed right this moment if you don't stop –"
"Buffy, Spike," Angel suddenly interrupts, nearing their table from the left side of the dance floor. He gestures to three nervous-looking individuals standing just behind him. "These are my coworkers from Angel Investigations. You both know Wesley, and this is Winifred Burkle, or 'Fred'," – he indicates a petite young woman with large brown eyes – "and Charles Gunn" – a stern man that reminds Buffy of Forrest, one of the Initiative commandoes.
"Thank you all for coming," says Buffy, since Spike is still too fixated on the thought of what she had just done with her tongue to make light conversation with the senior members of Angel Investigations.
"It's an honor to finally meet you, Buffy," says the girl named Fred politely. Wesley and Gunn merely nod from behind Angel.
Spike, meanwhile, swallows the contents of his champagne glass in one swig and gives all four of the Los Angeles residents a look that states, very clearly, 'Will the lot of you sod off so I can take my wife upstairs and make love to her for many consecutive hours?'
"Alright everyone, pay attention now, please!"
Willow's amplified voice interjects from across the room, silencing the DJ. The cordless microphone is back in her possession. Apparently, the sight of Angel and Co near the irate-looking Spike is her cue to proceed with the reception agenda. "It's time for the bouquet and garter tosses! Single ladies in the center of the dance floor!"
She sets the mike aside and rushes up to Buffy with a smaller bundle of roses that match the ones in her bouquet and the general decor. "Here! This one's for tossing. That way you can keep your original as a souvenir."
"Good thinking, Will. And, uh . . . while I'm throwing this, can you arrange to get Spike some . . . blood? I think he's going to need something stronger than liquid courage to keep it together."
Willow takes another look at Spike's fuming face and nods. "Already thought of that too. I just sent Giles to go get some."
"Will, you're an absolute saint," Buffy gushes, hugging her maid of honor around the shoulders.
"That's me, Saint Rosenberg," Willow beams back. "Patron of witches, Slayers, and brides to vampires!"
"If we offer you some nummy human sacrifices, can we shorten this infernal reception, O Most Mighty St Rosenberg?" Spike petitions, feigning piety with his palms held together in front of his chest, making simpering eyes at Willow.
"No," the redhead retorts in amusement. "Quit whining. There aren't that many things left to do anyway. Just bouquet, garter, cake . . . and, Buffy, you have to dance at least one dance each with Xander, Giles, and Angel."
"What? Over my dead body, Red!" snarls Spike when the Great Poof's name is mentioned.
"Spike, you are dead. And anyway, Dawn wants to dance with you after Clem and Xander, so don't think you're getting out of anything."
Willow flounces away to corral the group of contending bachelorettes, consisting mostly of the new Slayers and Buffy's younger sister.
"I swear we're havin' Dawnie's wedding outside in broad daylight," Spike says gruffly, glaring across the reception hall at Angel. "Er, not that we'll ever let the Niblet get married," he suddenly backtracks, his eyes meeting Buffy's skeptical expression, "but on the off chance that she does, Captain Forehead's not on the guestlist."
"We'll see," she smirks, getting up from her chair and planting a gentle kiss on his lips. "So, who should I try to hit with the bouquet?"
"Now, now, luv, that'd be cheatin'," he says, teasingly disapproving. "Gotta do it right, leave it up to fate."
"Uh-huh, and there can only be one Slayer alive at a time, too. Fate, shmate!"
With her nose in the air, Buffy merrily gathers the silky train of her white dress so she won't trip and walks around the head table toward the awaiting girls.
A chorus of "Yes"s answers her, and Buffy turns her back to the girls, internally reminding herself not to use Slayer strength when throwing the light bundle of flowers. As the bouquet leaves her hands and sails into the air over her shoulder, she hears a quick burst of competitive squeals among the Slayer junior league. To her complete surprise, when she turns around it is Faith with the bouquet in her hands, standing slack-jawed in her sleeveless crimson bridesmaid's dress.
"But I didn't mean to catch it!" she protests, holding the bouquet like it's an armed bomb. Buffy can hear Spike laughing uproariously back at the table.
"Guess it's just fate, Faith," Buffy smirks, far more pleased than if she had intentionally thrown the wedding favor towards any particular person.
Livid and embarrassed, Faith uses the mini-bouquet as a policeman's baton to wave the rest of the girls out of the way. "Okay, okay, clear the floor, snipes! Time for the man's toss. Bring a chair over, will'ya Blondie?"
Happily obliging, Spike lifts the nearest folding chair over his shoulder, and strolls toward Buffy, his gait playfully predatory, shoulders swaying sultrily. He sets down the chair where Faith indicates, and Buffy sits, smoothing down her dress and hoping that her face isn't already flaming red.
As soon as Xander, Angel, and the other unmarried men form a cluster several yards behind him, Spike grins wickedly and kneels between Buffy's legs.
"This nearly makes the waiting worth it," he snickers, his right hand lifting the hem of her dress and feeling the silk-smooth skin of her ankle.
"Please tell me someone took that video camera away from Andrew," Buffy hisses to him, now absolutely certain that her cheeks are rosy.
"Why, pet? You've nothin' at all to be ashamed of," he whispers back as his hand moves higher, cool fingers skimming the back of her calf. "You don't even need to know that lot is watchin' us. Here . . ."
He sits up a little straighter, scooting forward so that his chest is level with her waist. "Now . . . close your eyes . . ."
Obeying as if hypnotized by his enchanting, loving smile, Buffy shuts her eyes, tucks her chin, and finds his lips blindly. Sure enough, kissing Spike completely takes her mind off the watching crowd of wedding attendees. Only after half a minute does she realize that Spike's hand has paused beneath her dress.
"Which leg, luv?" he asks quietly, his mouth still melding with hers.
"Hmm . . .?"
"Buffy, which leg is your garter on?"
"Um . . ." she reflects, trying to recall how she had been standing when Willow had supplied this particular indelicate item. All the while his hand is slipping higher up between her thighs.
"You don't remember?" A chuckle rumbles in his throat. "Guess I'll just have to find it, yeh? . . ."
He resumes kissing her, his hand exploring the skin of her legs beneath her wedding gown. Quicker than he probably would have liked to, he finds the little lace-and-elastic band and starts pulling it down her thigh what seems like a millimeter at a time. As his hand reaches the back of her knees, he pauses to sweep a fingernail against the ticklish skin there, and Buffy gives a tiny, squeaky gasp, unable to help herself. Beaming devilishly, Spike shimmies the garter down to her ankle, stretches it around the short heel of her shoe, and then hooks it free.
"Something blue," he says slyly, holding the retrieved item between two fingers and appraising it appreciatively. "You wearing the matching set underneath, luv?"
"Spike!" she shushes. "Just throw the thing and we'll be that much closer to getting a room!"
He laughs and plants another sweet kiss against her lips. Then, keeping his back to the huddle of bachelors, he stands up, holds both arms above his head, and shoots the blue lace garter rubber-band style directly into Angel's nose. The brunette vampire doesn't have any time to react as the little loop of lingerie smacks him, rebounds off his astonished face, and falls right into his half open hand. Xander leads the other bachelors in raucous applause.
"And you accused me of cheating?" whispers Buffy, using Spike's arm to pull herself up out of the chair.
"I didn't look, did I?" he replies cheekily, straightening his tuxedo. "Just fate, perhaps a dash of karma on the side."
"Please! No one has that perfect aim."
"I thought about hitting Xander and Giles too, like a pinball machine, but I figured that might have been showin' off a bit."
"Yeah, a bit," she snorts as they walk arm-in-arm back to their table.
"Dear me, we seem to be short on chairs, luv," he remarks, even though there is no one else currently sitting at the wedding party's table and plenty of seats are free.
"Tsk tsk," Buffy chides, playing along. "Silly chair shortage. What do you suggest we do?"
Without waiting for an invitation, Spike scoops her up in his arms, twirls her around once in a circle, and resumes his own seat, holding her astride his lap.
"This should do, eh? Keep us . . . warmed up . . ."
"Not too much," she insists, but neither Willow or Giles is anywhere to be seen, and Dawn is distracted dancing the YMCA with Clem. Spike growls playfully, kissing her and trapping her pouting lower lip between his teeth.
"Fret not, pet. In fact, I think I'll tease you a bit more, Mrs. Summers," he remarks, giving her lip a light tug.
"Eww. No 'Mrs. Summers'-ing me. That makes me sound so horribly old. I wish you'd let me take your name."
"No, luv, you really don't," he laughs. "Want to stroll about being called 'Mrs. Pratt' for the rest of your days? Besides, 'William Summers' has a nice ring to it. So quit distractin' me when I'm tryin' to distract you!"
He reaches forward to snatch a wrapped chocolate from the table centerpiece. Peeling off the foil, he holds the tiny square on his palm, offering it to Buffy.
"How is giving me chocolate teasing me?" she asks, but he pulls his hand away before she can take the candy. "Oh, come on, William, surely you can do better than that."
"Plannin' on it," he smirks, biting off half the chocolate square. He hums in appreciation, swirling the rich taste around his mouth. "Mmm. Want some, luv?"
"Uh-huh," she answers, a little confused.
"Come get it, then." With taunting eyebrows, Spike pops the other half of the chocolate between his lips. Buffy grins mischievously.
"Is this the part where I put my hands on your hot, tight little body and make you give it to me?"
She puts emphasis on her words by running the palms of her hands down his chest, smoothing the lapels of his tuxedo jacket. Spike snickers, licking the half-square of chocolate trapped between his teeth. And his face is so deliciously enticing that she suddenly doesn't give the slightest care who sees them.
Buffy twists on his lap, lifts one handful of her silky dress up to her mid-thigh, and hooks her bare leg around Spike's trouser-clad one, straddling him. Only his eyes react in time, widening and rolling upwards as she cups his face in her palms and leans over him. She plunges her tongue into his mouth, fishes out the warm, melting square of chocolate, and then sits up triumphantly, sinking her pelvis a little deeper against him.
"Oh . . . dear God . . ." he moans in a voice that is so saturated with longing that it seems to be strangling him.
"Do I win, baby?" she grins, squirming just enough so that she can grind on Spike without making their movement visible to anyone on the other side of the wedding party's table. His body is stiffening and melting and shaking all at once, one hand clenching the tablecloth, the other frozen at her waist.
"Ohh . . . oh, yes, Buffy . . . please, luv . . ."
"Buffy, may I ask what on earth you are doing?" says Giles's slightly disapproving voice from about six feet to Buffy's left. With a sarcastic glare at the ceiling, she swivels slightly on Spike's lap and looks over at Giles.
"My husband," she retorts nonchalantly, ignoring the near-silent, begging groans coming from Spike. "What're you doing?"
Somewhat mortified, Giles keeps his eyes trained on a nearby decorated column as he answers, "Willow sent me to retrieve some blood for the poor chap, and now I have some idea as to why."
Giles hands over a heavy bottle made of dark glass, and Buffy grudgingly removes herself from Spike's lap to make sure the blood comes nowhere near her white gown.
"Thank God," Spike rasps. He immediately rips the cork out with his teeth and then tips the contents between his lips, his head lolling back.
"Gracious, perhaps I didn't bring enough," Giles comments as Willow and Kennedy return to the table.
"Oh, goody, you found the blood," says the redheaded witch appreciatively. "That hit the spot, Spike?"
He ignores them all, guzzling the blood with his eyes closed. A ripple runs over the bones in his forehead, but even with his intense thirst the internal bloodthirsty demon is not strong enough to overpower his newfound control.
"Stocking up for fun tonight," Kennedy smirks at Buffy, who turns to Willow with a plaintive smile.
"Oh, gracious and most powerful St Rosenberg, I have another humble bequest of thee."
"Name it, and it will be so," Willow replies, barely holding back her giggling.
"Um . . . can somebody get Spike an ice-pack?" says Buffy in full sincerity now. "I think I might have hurt him."
Kennedy lets out a snorting laugh, and both Willow and Giles instantly turn their heads toward Spike, who continues drinking his supply of blood, oblivious to the fact that he is under scrutiny. After two more thick swallows, he sighs appreciatively and sets the empty glass on the table.
"Ah. That's the real stuff, hospital grade B+. Spiced it up for me, didn't you, Watcher?" he calls Giles out, tasting the added burba weed.
"Eh, um, yes, I had a sprig in the remainder of my salvaged inventory from the Magic Box," Giles answers awkwardly. "I'll see about that ice-pack, Buffy."
"What?" asks Spike, realizing that both Willow and Kennedy are pink-faced from restraining their laughter as Giles walks away rapidly toward the church kitchen. They don't answer him until the Watcher returns with an instant gel-pack, the kind that would typically be used for a cold compress, and Spike finally interprets the giggles.
"Hey! I don't need a sodding ice-pack!"
"Spike, you can't stand up looking like that," Giles frowns, his gaze returning to the rose-embellished column as he holds out the compress.
"Why the bloody hell not? I'm a married man who just got half a lap dance from his bride!"
"Because you're supposed to go dance with Dawn in a minute," Willow informs him.
Spike's ears immediately turn red, and he rapidly accepts the ice-pack from Giles and holds it to his groin under the table, mumbling darkly.
"This is your ruddy fault, Buffy Anne Summers."
"And it is totally worth it," she snickers back at him, then turns to Willow and Giles. "Everything going smoothly? No uninvited guests? Hell-goddesses? Sword-toting knights? Uber-vamps?"
"None at all," Giles comments. "From what I heard, Angel's public relations' department made such outrageous threats to the supernatural community that no demon who wished to retain his or her reproductive organs would consider disrupting this occasion."
"Speaking of demons and reproductive organs . . ." says Spike casually, reaching out an arm and pulling Buffy back into his lap with a teasing growl. She yelps as her leg touches the ice-pack through the thin silk layers of her skirt.
"Perhaps this would be an excellent opportunity to cut the cake," Giles suggests loudly to Willow.
"Right you are, Giles," says the pleasanter chief member of the wedding planning committee. "I'll wheel it over here while you announce it to everyone."
She scampers toward the frosted mountain in the corner and, with Xander's help, rolls the cake-bearing cart toward the head table. Faith-zilla, having divested herself of the unwanted bouquet, charges towards them to oversee the movement of the massive pastry, and between the three of them they manage to transport the cake to the wedding party's table unscathed. Dawn squirms to the front of the group and raises her faithful camera.
"Now make it really messy, you too!" she demands of Spike and Buffy as the two of them reluctantly detangle their limbs, stand up, and prepare to slice into the top layer of white-frosted, chocolaty goodness. "Whole globs of it all over your faces!"
"But not a crumb on her dress," Willow adds, nearly begging.
Rolling her eyes, Buffy lays her hand over Spike's cool one, and together they make two clean cuts into the uppermost cake layer. Willow supplies a plate for their slice, and Spike picks up the fork first.
"Want me to play it dirty, luv?" he whispers, so soft that only Buffy can hear him.
"Only once we're in bed," she answers cheekily in an equally quiet voice, hoping Dawn can't read her lips behind the camera lens.
Spike grins, hooks a tiny sliver of the cake slice onto the fork, and – with the same perfect precision that sent the garter into Angel's face – carefully ladles the bite of cake into Buffy's open mouth. She sighs in appreciation, enjoying the vividly sweet taste, and accepts the fork from Spike to return the favor. Though her aim is not as perfect as his, she still manages to fork-feed him a nibble without dropping desert on either of their clothes. He licks stray icing off his lips and then leans forward to kiss her, melding the warmth of the chocolate with the even richer, slightly metallic flavor of blood that lingers in his mouth.
A/N: Please let me know what you think! Spike knows what happens to writers who don't get reviews: "Living skeletons, mate. Like famine victims from those dusty countries, only not half as funny." (Episode 4.6, "Pangs") Heehee! ;) The last part – including the start of the honeymoon night, will be written and posted as soon as I get all my nasty homework done!