Disclaimer: I don't own or profit from BtVS. Everything is owned by Joss Whedon and all his affiliates. No copyright infringement intended.

Placed between Something Blue and Hush.

Warning: Explicit sexual content and blood play. But it's Spike so you should have saw that coming. Also there may be some flowery malarkey towards the end, but that's 'cause I'm an unrepentant romantic at heart.

A/N: The set up is pretty trite. But I serve up trite family style and hand out big honkin' spoons.

Sweet Agony

Part Three

As soon as she was done writhing beneath him he bolted off her. He stood beside the bed, staring down at her, his chest heaving. If he could sweat he would be coated from the tips of his hair to the soles of his feet. He wasn't sure how much more he could take before he ripped off her knickers, undid his jeans, and slid his cock into her soft, wet heat. The intensity of the night was starting to wear on him. He'd never been this immersed in sex. In Intimacy with a capital I. She was sharing parts of her she had no right to do. He wanted to claim the blood and sex parts, but not the ones fitting her together into a fully realized person. He didn't want to know her, he just wanted to shag her. He rubbed his hand down his face, trying to scrub out his humanity. He could smell her tears, and it bothered him. Worse, it bothered him that they bothered him. He was all kinds of bothered.

He dropped to his knees, his chin resting on the edge of the bed. Her ankles were on either side of his ears and he had a prime view of her nearly translucent panties. She was wet and dark between her legs, a siren call of sex and wild abandonment. He wrapped his cool hand around the arch of her foot, controlling her knee-jerk reaction to kick him in the face. After breaching another cycle, her body would be free from pain for at least a few minutes, but he didn't want to stop tasting her. Couldn't stop.

He didn't want her to speak either. He didn't want to hear any more secret desires. Desires which called to his own clandestine emotions. Her dreams closely aligned with his yearnings for love, marriage and family. A sense of belonging. Once those ideals had been the cornerstones of his identity. William's identity. Cecily herself hadn't been important as much as what she represented, a wife, a companion, a lover. A bastion from the world he couldn't seem to fit into. She would have been a future where he loved and was loved. Those were things he yearned for. Things denied to him by Angelus' long-standing, irrevocable claim on Dru. Useless soddin' dreams of a poncy poet. He needed to focus on his desires now. He wanted to have claim over this Slayer. To have her blood call for him. To have her thoughts turn to him when she so much as got a twitch in her clit. Guaranteeing those things meant having her speak.

"Tell me sumthin' mundane, slayer." Spike pulled her leg straight and swathed his tongue along a shallow wound on her ankle. She twitched and he knew he had found a tickle spot. He laved it again, a smile stretching his lips.


He rolled his eyes. He blamed public school. "Normal."

The moment stretched. Surely, she had something normal in her life to natter on about. The way her and the witch constantly chattered you'd think the world spun on it's axis only to hear them speak.

"Like what?" she finally asked in a small, uncertain voice.

He shrugged. The backs of her calves and thighs were pretty cut up, but the wounds were shallow. She had bourn the brunt of her beating on her back and arms. He wondered how injured she was in the front. He hadn't seen much when she was curled up on the couch or when he deposited her on the bed. "Dunno. Tell me about classes."

"Oh, well. I'm taking psych, early Brit lit, world history and stats."

"Sounds mind numbing, kitten."

"Yah. Stats makes my eyes cross, but if I do good I won't have to take any other math classes, unless I choose to go into sciences."

"You have an idea of what you wantin' a degree in?"

"No." Buffy stretched, curling her toes. Spike was keeping her pleasure at a pleasant hum, the pain only a flicker along her peripheral. For a moment she could imagine herself sunbathing on a beach somewhere, far from the heaviness of her life. It was pleasant to take a break from their previously substantial conversation, and 'natter on' as Spike liked to say, about unimportant things. School was definitely one of those unimportant things. She doubted she would live to graduate. It was just something to pass the time before she died. "I'm just seeing if something catches my interest."

His tongue tickled the back of her knee and she giggled. He perked at the sound, and almost against his volition, his fingertips ticked her other knee. She jerked beneath him and giggled again.

"Spike, stop it!"

"Who knew the Slayer was ticklish," he murmured against her thigh. She tensed and he backed off, starting at her other ankle.

"I'm not ticklish," she protested, a laugh caught in her voice.

"Mmmhmm," he hummed against her anklebone and she jerked her foot away. He grabbed it and yanked it back, fastening his lips over the slight protrusion. She gasped, trying to kick herself free, but she was no match for him in her weakened condition.

"Stop!" she demanded. He licked the back of her other knee, holding her down as she squirmed.

"Admit you're ticklish." Spike couldn't stop the small flicker of delight stirring his insides. Vampires weren't ticklish. At least Dru wasn't. Spike's brow creased. There had never been joy in their unions. Sure, there had been laughter. The dark, malicious kind of laughter that comes with a particularly vicious kill. Sex had been rapturous, depraved, exciting and pleasurable. It had even been fun in it's own hedonistic way, but it had never been joyous.

"What?" she gasped out, still writhing.

"Admit it and I'll stop," he teased. Buffy's laughter was like drops of sunlight on his skin. A hint of warmth, a dollop of pleasure, but without the searing agony of the burn. Every time it tinkled over his skin, his stomach tightened waiting for pain that never came. It's warmth washed over him, lingering and pleasant. If he wasn't careful, he could become addicted.

She pouted beneath him, seriously giving thought to telling him to sod off, as he would say. Except his tongue was now doing this swirling thing right in the crease of her knee that was making her shake with laughter.

"Okay! I'm ticklish, darn it."

"Darn it? FU? You're a real potty mouth, kitten."

"Pfft. What can I say? I'm a good girl."

"Yah, a real good girl." He sucked hard on her calf and she arched off the bed. The languid ache disappeared, and she was filled with a frantic need egged on by her laughter. She wasn't close, but she wasn't far behind either. Her skin felt hot, tight and overly sensitized, not quite fitting over her body. She nuzzled the bed, rubbing her cheeks on the course coverlet, resembling a cat begging for a good petting. Spike was more than happy to oblige. He ran his hands up and down her legs, skimming over her injuries to press his fingertips against smooth, unmarred flesh.

"Nothin' so far?"

"W-what?" she asked in a daze. The rich baritone of his voice only added to the atmosphere of decadent pleasure permeating the room. It was becoming harder to muzzle out his words. Realizing she was lost in a haze of pleasure, she struggled to latch onto the conversation.

"Nothin' interestin' at uni?"

She wracked her brain. College seemed so far away to her. It wasn't where she belonged. She knew it and she couldn't escape the overwhelming feeling that everyone she met knew it as well. It made meeting new people difficult and awkward. She kept expecting them to accuse her of trespassing and throw her out of every building she walked into. College was for people who had bright, shiny futures. Slayers didn't have futures; they have destinies. She traced an infinity symbol on the coverlet, her face turned away from his. "We read Beowulf. It was kinda interesting. Slayer slaying the monster. It's just one long poem though."

"Lyrical ballad," Spike corrected. "J.R. Tolkien argued it was an elegy."


Spike sighed against her skin, and her clit twitched. Again, he blamed the public school system. "What'dya think of Grendal's mother?"

"What do you mean?" She widened her legs and Spike prowled up her thighs. His knees were planted on the bed between her ankles, his hands pressed firmly into the backs of her knees so not to tickle her. His cool breath and tongue danced along her skin.

"Was she a monster?" His tone was silky. He sounded like he was hunting, and it made her insides twitch. The tingles across her nape tightened her skin, and she didn't realize she was forming fists until her fingernails snagged on the coverlet.

Buffy loosened her hands and concentrated on the question. "Of course she was. She killed people."

"Was she the monster or the guy who hung her sprog's arm up on the rafters like some sort of bleedin' trophy?" She could hear the snarl thicken his voice, and she answered with her own snide tension.

"Her kid was a monster. He was terrorizing people for years."

"Maybe, but does that make her a monster?" he reasoned. She hated it when he reasoned. "Did she deserve to be murdered in her own home only 'cause she was tryin' to retrieve her son's arm so she could give him a proper burial?"

"She got what she deserved," she replied tight-lipped. She was tense beneath him in a way that had nothing to do with pleasure, and everything to do with kicking his arse. Anger, tension, derision, bitterness. These were not emotions he wanted to engender in her. He wanted her pleasure, her ecstasy. He wanted her joy back. He nosed his way between her legs at the tops of her thighs, laving a lash that cut its way towards her front.

"You're right, luv. She's an evil monster," he soothed, using his tongue to coax her into relaxing.

"Don't call me that," she chirped in a small voice, somewhat aware she may have overreacted. She didn't like to think too deeply on the subject of good and evil and the rationalization of actions. She was the Slayer. She slayed evil. End of story. She didn't need to ruminate on supposed familial connections of the demon world and whether or not they knew the difference between right and wrong. That was a job for moralists, socialists and psych professors.

"Sorry, kitten." He tongued the lace of her panties barely covering her buttocks. They had once been white, but now they had a pinkish cast and were heady with blood and sex. There was a large rip in the seat, and he could scent blood and poison leaking from the wound. Spike nosed them aside just enough to run his tongue along the creased underside of her ass. "What about that psych class? Anythin' interestin' there?"

Buffy instantly thought of Riley. He had looked so completely dumbfounded when she tried to pass off her engagement to Spike as a joke. She still couldn't believe he bought it. It just told her how sweet he really was. He clearly wasn't someone who prevaricated. He was far to well mannered to lie like Parker or abandon her as Angel did. He was a long haul kinda guy. She imagined when he loved, he loved with all of his heart. He would most certainly cry at her funeral. If she were benevolent, she would run the other way, and spare him the heartache that was loving Buffy Summers. The thought of normal was too tempting though. The thought of being loved as a girl, and not as the slayer.

"There's a guy…" she hedged.

"Can't say I'm interested…pet." He bit an uninjured swathe of flesh with his dull teeth and she yelped.

"Well, you asked," she accused. Spike snickered at the laughter in her voice. It didn't matter if there was a guy. For now on Spike would be the only guy. He frowned at the idea. He needed to remember that he wasn't conditioning a slave, merely cultivating a little good will from the Slayer. It wouldn't be above board to expect anything more. She was the Slayer and he was a vampire. Their relationship could never be anything more than bloody.

He swept his hands under her panties, pulling the material towards the center and baring her ass. The material pulled taut along her clit and up the crack of her ass, urging her to cant back towards him. He attacked her wound with voraciousness, licking and sucking until she was bucking beneath him. He yanked back on her hips, levering her up slightly on her knees, her face still resting on the coverlet. The last wound on her backside clean, he buried his face in her pussy, sucking at her clit through her panties. She rocked back on his face, coming with sawing pants and little porno mewls of pleasure. He drank her up, wondering how it was possible it tasted better than her blood.

Her spasms of pleasure subsided and he withdrew from her in a flurry. The man and the demon were in complete concurrence. They needed to possess her now. His strong fingers banded around her ankles and with a powerful heave he flipped her onto her newly healed backside. He planted a knee on the bed, prowling up her body.

"Stop." Her voice shook and she barely had the breath to expel it beyond her lips, but he heard and obeyed. Even the demon obeyed. Her eyes were heavy lidded, her lips parted in pleading. "Please. I need a minute." A minute? She needed an entire lifetime to recover. She had never felt so sexually satiated, and somehow she knew they hadn't even reached the pinnacle of their experience.

Spike growled. The sound was low and heavy, and rolled over her sensitive skin like static from an electrical storm. She tensed, watching as his eyes flashed amber. There was a constant ongoing war inside Spike as man and demon fought for supremacy. At any given moment the beast could win and no pain inducing chip was going to stop it from a feeding frenzy. She wasn't afraid. The man had been fighting the demon in Spike for over a hundred years. He was stronger than he even knew.

He backed off the bed, flinging himself into the leather chair. His cock throbbed with painful intensity and he lowered his zipper a couple of notches to relieve the tension. The swollen head peeked above the vee of his fly, weeping glistening precum in the moonlight. Spike's amber eyes dipped closed, his hand cupped over the mushroomed head of his cock. He squeezed hard, hoping the pain would serve to lessen his desire. It didn't. Breathing deeply, he fought to regain control. When he opened his eyes they were blue once more.

Buffy was crescent like on the bed, her pillow bulwarked against him. She was watching him with shadowed green eyes. He wondered if she felt pity for him. If she felt anything for him. He was just a monster. A soulless demon bent on blood and destruction. How could she possibly feel anything for him other than disgust?

"How you feelin', kitten?" He slouched in the chair, a lazy, debauched punk with Billy Idol hair and cockier than thou attitude.

"Better." Buffy pulled the pillow tight to her chest. Spike's hand was cupped over his fly, but she saw what was just beneath. Long, hard and thick. It practically begged her to get on her knees and swallow it down to the root. Before the night was through she knew his jeans would be off and it would be inside her. She wondered how she felt about that. She wondered why she had no intention of fighting it.

"Jus' like you wanted then," Spike nodded absently. There was a flash in the Slayer's eyes he immediately honed in on it. "Not what you wanted?" He cocked his scarred brow at her. She flushed and ducked her head in a mockery of innocence given what they just experienced together. Maybe that was why he was so drawn to her. She was both world weary and innocent. Someone who had seen too much of the wrong things and not enough of the right ones. Too much pain, not enough pleasure.

"The pain is gone for now," she hedged. She sucked in her lower lip, and he tightened his fist on the head of his cock. He vowed before the night was through he would taste that mouth of hers again. He wanted to make sure it was just as sweet without magic in the air.

"But?" he prodded. He ran his tongue across his teeth, not to entice her, but to glean every last drop of her he could. Her taste was still in his mouth, coating the insides in a thin film of liquid sunshine. He was already craving more. Needed more Buffy in his mouth.

"It never gets better." Suddenly her layered meaning became clear for him. Better for her wasn't a state of mind, it was a state of being. She wanted her world and her existence in it to be better. A state of being where she could be a wife, maybe a mother. At the very least an existence where she was a cherished lover. Better to her meant not being alone.

His gaze flicked to a dark corner of the room. Better wasn't something he could give the Slayer. Pleasure, bliss, satisfaction, those were things he could gift her with. Love, honor and companionship, those were normalcies that had no substance in their world.

"No, it never gets better," he confirmed with determination. He didn't look back to meet her eyes. He didn't want to see the disappointment and sorrow he knew to be lingering there. "But there are ways to dull the pain." He leaned over, fisting his hand in her pillow. She didn't resist when he pulled it away. Even whip lashed and bloody she was beautiful. She had small perky tits with cherry nipples, a narrow waist that flared into softly swelling hips, and her long muscled legs ended in dainty feet that could crush a man's skull with one powerful blow. She was fucking perfect. He pulled her close, running his open mouth along the arch of her foot even though there was no wound there. She bucked, but didn't try to get away. He had mastered her to his touch. She was his. He ignored the tiny voice that murmured he might be hers.

"Yeah. This is the most orgasms I've had in my entire life combined."

Spike's head shot up. "Wot?" The deepening of his East End accent displayed his shock.

She was suddenly embarrassed and tried to curl up into herself, but he refused to let her ankle go. He pulled her leg straight, bearing her vulnerability to him.

Feeling the quaver in her muscles, he realized he touched a nerve. He slicked his tongue along her ankle and she relaxed, his ministrations sending soothing vibes through her body. The fronts of her legs were relatively unscathed, and he was able to work his way to her knees quickly.

"So you don't have a nightly wank to help you off?" He whispered his question against her kneecap just to see the goose pimples form up her thigh. Even at his lowered angle he could see her face, and he found that being at her front was more pleasurable than at her back. This way he could see every nuance of pleasure as it ghosted over her face, see the expressiveness in the deep, green pools of her eyes.

She watched him, heady-lidded, her distorted body image all but disappeared. In Spike's eyes she was beautiful. He told her with the worship of his mouth. Her body was Spike's to do with as he pleased. There were no barriers between them.

She shook her head, and her hair tousled around her. "No. Dorm living. Roommate is five feet away. And—" she dropped her lashes, sheilding her eyes. He growled against her thigh, angry that she would attempt to hide from him. Her lashes lifted. "I've always felt like I'm being watched."

"Angel." It wasn't a question, but she nodded anyways.

"He spent a lot of time in my tree," she imparted an amused snicker in her voice.

His snort of derision tickled the fine hairs on her leg. He nipped his way across her inner thigh, licking a wound he couldn't reach from the back. He hooked his thumbs in the elastic band of her panties. Mutely, she lifted her hips, and he slid them off and tossed them with his shirt.

"So, you've never?" He prowled up her body, and her thighs fell apart to allow him passage.

"No," she whispered when his mouth traced the apex of her thighs. "I've had dreams, and when I woke up…" she trailed off and by the awed expression in her face he could see the surprise and relief she must have felt waking to an orgasm. A young girl just hitting puberty, when sex was an exciting little secret. How dirty and wonderful it must have felt. Liberating.

He surprised her when he took her hand in his. He lowered himself so his head was pillowed on her upper thigh, his eyes still locked with hers. He brought her fingertips to his lips, his tongue wrapping around her fore and middle fingers. He sucked them into his mouth, and she gasped at how cool it was compared to a human's.

"What are you doing?" she asked quietly. He slowly withdrew her fingers, scraping his teeth along their sensitive undersides.

"Showin' you how it's done. The world is in tears at the idea of a girl not knowin' how to wank."

She laughed. A tiny huff of air between her parted lips. She let him place her hand on her pussy, feeling boneless as he guided her fingers between her swollen lips. Her thighs fell further apart, and Spike shifted his weight so his head rested close enough to breath on her clit. He swirled her fingers around her oversexed nub, breathing hard when she rocked her hips.

"Be a good girl and play with your tits," he directed. She hesitated and he stopped the motion of their tangled hands. He could see her throat shimmer in the moonlight as she swallowed. Her free hand reached up to cup her breast, her thumb and forefinger tweaking her puckered, cherry nipple. He moved, teaching a simple rhythm. Swirling around her clit before plunging her fingers into her slick quim. She was a quick learner, and before long his hand on hers was just away to be connected to her as she pleasured herself. She rode her hand, her head thrown back as she arched into the ecstasy of her own touch.

"Open your eyes," he demanded when they started to drift shut under the onslaught of pleasure. She locked her eyes with his, mastered by him and mastering him at the same time. She was close, and a keen was starting in the back of her throat, when suddenly he exerted pressure and trapped her hand against her cunny. She whimpered with an agonizing sense of betrayal. He pressed her fingertips until they parted and the pink hood of her clit peeked between them. Eyes still locked with hers, he leaned forward and slicked the tip of his tongue along the insides of her fingers before tickling her clit. Her body arched like it was electrified. She couldn't prevent herself from closing her eyes, and he was too busy drinking her in to discipline her.

He slithered backwards of the bed as she gulped the last of her orgasm to the deepest dregs. He stood over her, hypnotized by her beauty. Her hand hid her sweet, quivering quim from his sight, her other hand cupping her breast. She was a living breathing Botticellian Venus rising from the sea, painted in luxurious jeweled hues. He shucked his jeans, shuddering when the air caressed his painfully hard dick.

He was back before she could draw another ragged breath, pinning her hips with his hands as he sucked liquid candy from a cut on her sharply angled pelvis bone. She arched, skimming her nails across his skull as she furrowed her fingers through his hair. She pressed him closer, lifting her hip to his mouth when he hummed in pleasure.

"No one's ever did that before." Her tone was breathy and full of feminine satisfaction. He slid an open mouth kiss along her bone, pressing his tongue tight against her skin, before lifting his head to look at her.


"Use their mouth down there."

"Angel never did?" Parker he could believe to be a selfish git, but he figured Angel would have wanted to taste what he claimed as his.

"We only did it the one time." Her voice sad and small. More bad days, heaped on worst days. How could she explain to him the supposed one best day of her past was tangled together with pain and suffering, twisting and turning it until it became a ragged scar that still wept with poison from time to time.

"That's sex, kitten. This is foreplay. There's no limit on it. It can go on and on." He ran his tongue along the edge of his teeth, gratified when her breath caught in her throat.

"He never wanted too." How many hours had it been she wondered. How long had their foreplay stretched on. The night seemed endless, dawn a dream that would never be realized.

Spike could see the bruise in her eyes that went deeper than the Sweet Agony in her blood. Rejection was a poison you never recovered from. He should know. It tore you down into a quivering, caricature of yourself that was never fully erased no matter how much you rubbed. The indentations of their abuses indelible on the paper thin membranes of the heart and soul. Attempts to redraw yourself from scratch usually meant using the blueprints of other people's perceptions of you. Unfortunately, those perceptions had a way of rebuilding you wrong. Turning you into a paragon of what they imagine you to be, not who you really are.

"He knew once he started, he'd never stop. Never let you go," he etched his conviction of her siren desirability across her skin, urging her to believe the worship in his words. "Once he tasted you, once he had you. You'd be a craving in his blood." He tried not to think what his words meant for him. How much he was affected by her.

"But he did let me go," she intoned. Her words of self-destruction just as powerful as his worship. "I was always his, but he was never mine. You're supposed to free the ones you love. Well, he did all right. He set me free like I was a pet canary in a gilded cage."

He surged up her body. Her thighs parted, and his heavy erection burrowed along her lips, resting just outside her sheath. He tucked his arms beneath her, so her weight was cradled tightly to him.

"Same here," he confessed. He drowned in her wide green eyes, wondering if it was possible to lose a soul in a moment of perfect happiness then was it be possible to gain one in this moment of perfect sorrow. "Nothing more than a pretty pet she tired of. She knew I'd never wander away, even if she left the cage door open. She had to drive me off with cruelty and hate."

A tear escaped and slid into her hair. He wasn't sure whose it was. Eyes wide open, he slashed his mouth over hers, and suddenly he knew that everything he had tasted during the spell was true. He rocked forward, sliding deep inside her. She was hot and wet, and the absolute paradigm of heaven.

This was the final part of the conditioning. He was supposed to lock her wrists over her head, let her know that it was him doing this to her, that it was him generating her pleasure, not the slick slide of their bodies together. But he couldn't resist her nails scraping over his ribs, drawing him closer to her with wordless pleas. The sinuous twining of her arms around his back as he sank deeper into her. The gentle, insistent pull of her quim, drawing him closer to her heat. To her. He fitted the mosaic of her life together and he saw the person behind the Slayer. Not just the girl who lost her heart, not the woman who would never have the normal she craved, not the warrior who desired an equal. He saw them all together in the imperfect patchwork of humanity that made up Buffy.

He arched his back in a deep convex, his hips still flexing into her. His ravenous mouth searched out the rest of her wounds, cleaning them with frantic sucks and flat-tongued licks. He twirled his tongue around her hard pink nipple, before laving a slash across the fleshy weight of her breast. His black chipped nails were dark against her golden skin as he pinched her hips, pulling her down onto his cock while he laid open mouth kisses along a wound on her neck. He was seated deep inside her, their bodies pressed tightly together from hip to collarbone, and the only wound left was the one on her cheek. She was feverish with need, tossing her head back and forth, her breath sawing in and out in time with his thrusts.

"No more pain," she begged him, lost in the torrent that was him as he drove into her.

"No more pain," he promised wishing he could make it true. No more punches, kicks or stabs. No more insults, rejections and self-doubts. He would take them all away with the magic of his tongue if he could. He fisted his hand in her honey colored hair, his knuckles curling against her skull. Reined in by her hair, her lashes fluttered and he could see sparks of jade. He levered her face to the side, and ran his tongue along the cut on her cheek, pistoning his hips in time with the swipes. She watched him with hazy, passion-bruised eyes, her teeth nibbling the edge of his jaw.

"One more kiss. Make it all come true," she beseeched.

He covered her mouth, sliding his tongue along hers in deep, searching licks, as if he could heal the wounds inside her soul, just as easily as the ones on her body. The beat of her heart, and the possessive growls in his throat became new chants of worship for them. An invocation of their own higher state of being where everything was better, and everything was obtainable, even the crazy dreams of belonging.

She tightened up around him, and he couldn't tell where he ended and she began. He was in deeper than he'd ever been before. Deep inside where it went beyond the physical, into something more, something stupid and crazy and completely impossible for a Slayer and a Vampire. She shattered apart around him, and he gathered her up in his arms, trying to keep her together, but all to soon he was falling to pieces with her.

When his brain reset and he came to, he felt like he was put together wrong. Like maybe pieces of her got caught up in him and maybe some parts of him were lost with her. But they couldn't form up together and make all the pieces fit because they were lost, separated from each other by the reality of who and what they were. Spike slowly slipped away from her, suppressing the irrational urge to sooth her discontented whimpers. She grabbed his wrists, and looked at him with big green eyes that showed the world all her pain.

"Don't go. Don't ever go." Her eyes were bruised, and he knew she was still locked away in their moment of time together. But their moment was gone, and reality was a ravenous bitch that ate up dreams like they were lollies on a hot summer day.

"I'll be back." He could tell she didn't believe the small smile that came with his words and for one insane moment he wanted to tear his heart out of his chest and hand it to her. Instead, he resolutely walked out of the room, bare-arsed naked as the day he was born.

The Watcher was slumped in the hall, leaning against the far wall. He struggled to stand as Spike closed the bedroom door, an empty bottle of scotch rolling away towards the stairs.

"Is she—"

"Stop!" Spike growled and the barely leashed animal intensity froze the Watcher in a half crouch. "She's not ready yet."

He walked passed Giles into the upstairs bath where he set the dials to the shower at a comfortable temperature. When he exited he jerked his chin towards the stairs, wordlessly ordering the other man down. The Watcher flashed him a glassy-eyed, mutinous look that was quickly quelled under the Master Vampire's glare. Giles didn't know what had happened over the course of the evening, but the sick, sinking pit in his stomach made him want to rage at the enormity of it all.

Spike gently gathered up Buffy close to his chest and took her to the bathroom. He held her up in the shower, watching as the pink tinges of blood swirled down the drain, leaving her golden skin mostly unscathed. The majority of her wounds were already healed, only the deepest and nastiest still stitching together. She leaned heavily on his chest as he massaged shampoo into her hair, pink suds gliding down her body. He resisted the urge to slip his hardened cock in her from behind, knowing their time had passed, and he no longer had the excuse of conditioning to touch her as he liked.

He wanted to. God, he wanted. He was pretty sure she'd let him. But somewhere in the back of the unused portion of his brain, where the poncy poet still lived, he was screaming that it wouldn't be right to take advantage of her now, especially when she was blitzed out of her mind with languid pleasure and sleep deprivation. Once every trace of blood had been washed down the drain, he turned off the water and wrapped her in a fluffy towel. She was practically asleep on her feet by the time he gathered her up in his arms again.

Back in the bedroom, he dragged the ruined coverlet off the bed with one hand and pulled back the neatly folded sheets. He tucked her under the crisp white sheets, and found a blanket at the top of the closet to tuck around her. He was dressed and watching her from the doorway when the first vestiges of sunlight marched vengefully through the room chasing away the duplicitous night. He closed the door behind him, nodding to the Watcher, before crawling back into the downstairs tub like the monster he was.