Chapter 4 – (k)Nickers Off Ready When I Come Home

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Hello! So the last fic I posted was back in November 2020, when I was about 6 months into long covid. I am now over two years into what is now looking more like chronic disability than a temporary illness, and has already involved two separate 4-month stints of being too ill to get out of bed and do basic self-care, let alone work. (Don’t get covid, kids.)

I had hoped and planned to submit something substantive for this spring’s seasonal-spuffy, but sadly I’ve just been too ill. So I thought for the 25th anniversary theme, I’d submit a new chapter to a story I started way-back-when for the 25th round. It’s kind of thematic, in a half-rhyme kind of way.

Many thanks to everyone who still cares about this story, despite the time between updates! If you no longer remember the details, the whole thing (excluding this chapter) is available here on AO3. (I expect this will be most of you.)

Title: (k)Nickers Off Ready When I Come Home – Chapter 4
Author: stuffnonsense
Era: Post-Series
Rating: Mature

Summary: Buffy and Spike are finally a couple. But after spending so much time and effort building up their emotional intimacy, they’ve sort of lost their way with the physical side of things. A road trip to Oregon seems like the perfect time and place for them to work it out. Through talking. Definitely talking. Certainly using their mouths. And tongues. And maybe a few other things.

As their laughter gentled into sighs, Spike reached out for her hand again, and held it tight.

Buffy turned to him, faintly anxious again. “Was everything we did back then some kind of way to force me to acknowledge you?”

“No,” he said quickly, giving her hand a squeeze. “Never just that.”

She sighed. “Don’t you get that I’m terrified of the same thing?”

He twisted sharply towards her.

“I hit you. A lot. And you still had sex with me afterwards.” She paused. “Sometimes during.”

He flinched, like he always did when she brought up any of the ways she was violent. She wished she could get to the heart of his issues about that. He’d pushed that ‘slayer’s dark side’ at her for all he was worth back when they’d first been together, but now he seemed freakishly adamant she didn’t have one. It pissed her off.

Spike stared down at his knees and very carefully did not think about anything except how much he wished he could be chain smoking right now.

“Besides the exhibitionism, you know the other difference between you and everyone else I’ve slept with? I never punched them as foreplay.”

He flinched again.

“Never left them bleeding or broken from where I’d intentionally ripped them open. You jealous of that, too?”

“Not jealous,” he muttered. 

“Sure,” Buffy said archly. “And somewhere there’s a Fyarl who smells like violets and does cryptic crosswords for fun.”

With the tiniest returning spark of humour, Spike said: “‘Preciate my dangly bits bein’ whole and unbroken, ta.” He went back to staring out of his window, still clutching her hand like a lifeline. His head hurt. And his heart. “Thought one of your favourite things was not havin’ to be careful ‘bout hurtin’ me?”

Accidentally! Yeesh.” Buffy squeezed his hand. More cautiously, she continued, “Seriously, though. Do you get off on pain?” Even more hesitantly, “Is it something you need?”

Spike took a deep shuddering breath. There was absolutely nowhere they could safely pull over in the next five minutes, and they really needed to get at least as far as Shasta-Trinity National Forest before they stopped for the day. Reluctantly, he let go of Buffy’s hand and rolled down the window a couple of fingers, mumbling an apology around a cigarette as he lit it.

“It’s okay if you do,” Buffy continued. “Need it, I mean. I’m not – I couldn’t even spar with you right now, so super-no-with-extra-sprinkles-on-top to hurting you during sex. If we ever actually manage to have it. Ha! But if you really need it … it’s something we can work towards.”

“You don’t need to – fuck. Yes. No!” He waved the hand holding the cigarette. “It’s complicated.”

Buffy gave him what she hoped was an encouraging smile. “You realise that answer is in no way helpful, right?”

“Sorry.” Somehow, he was already through his first cigarette and lighting a second. “Early days as a vamp? Sensation gets jumbled up. Pain, pleasure, terror, joy, any extremes’re the same, all good. An’ my early sexual experiences were… let’s say ‘not wholesome’. So yeah, pain can be a turn-on.” He gave her a long indecipherable look while he very nearly finished his second cigarette in one long drag. “But likin’ pain i’n’t the same as seeing all violence as foreplay. Stranger walks up and punches me in the face?” His lips twitched. “Or brains me with an axe?”

Buffy smiled, weak but there.

“No matter how attractive I may find them, ‘s not gonna get me hard.”

She nodded thoughtfully.

You walking up and punchin’ me in the face? Depending on the context, yeah, it might.”

“But definitely not if you’re cold.”

He laughed, sharp and short. “Definitely not.”

“I think I get it. So … I’m maybe feeling guilty for stuff I shouldn’t be?”

Spike sighed. “Never had any cause to regret sex with you, luv.”

Buffy started panicking. That wasn’t a ‘no’.

“You ever bruise me – in the lead-up or during sex? Draw blood with your fingernails? Teeth? You’ll get nothin’ but enthusiastic consent. If you wanted to carve your name into my chest, I’d beg you to add all three names.”

She tried very, very hard to keep her face neutral, but she was not hopeful of success. The thought of his chest getting carved up by anything ever again made her feel violently ill.

He laughed, much more relaxed this time. “Love you. So much.” Spike stubbed out his cigarette and pulled her hand to his, kissing her knuckles. “Now ask me why.”


“You’d be putting a mark on me. Makin’ me yours. No bigger turn-on.”

“So … if I wrote ‘property of Buffy’ on you with a sharpie, it’d do the same job?”

He nodded, eyes going darker.

“Huh.” She licked her lips. “Good to know.”

“Askin’ me if I need pain, ‘s like … asking if you need missionary position. Gettin’ the angle right’s the important bit. One position might be more reliable than another, but it’ll never be necessary.”

“What about the times I hurt you when it wasn’t sexual? Like when I thought I’d killed Katrina?”

“Would’ve done anythin’ to stop you turnin’ yourself in. Still cheap at the price.”

“That doesn’t make it right.” Buffy paused, trying to find the right words. “You kept saying, back then, how much I belonged in the dark, with you. But now … any time I acknowledge the darkness I know is in me, you deny it.”

Spike blinked. “I … that was just a line. Nothin’ deep or meaningful. Never expected you to believe me.” He smiled encouragingly, waiting for her to join in the joke. She didn’t.

“The year before I died, I thought I was losing my humanity. That all the death and violence was … was making me evil, too. I leaned into those fears with my actions, more than a little. And then … then when your chip didn’t work on me….”

He frowned. “What I said – it really affected you that much?”

“How could it not?”

“Because it was bollocks!” Spike was utterly horrified. “There’s nothin’ dark in you!”

“I beat you unconscious and left you alone, outside, to die, a couple hours before dawn. And I did it because it made me feel better in the moment.”

“Sure, I’d ‘ve preferred you take me home and patch me up.” Spike twisted in his seat so he was fully facing Buffy. He’d shake her if she weren’t driving. “But I didn’t expect it. Why would I? That wasn’t what we had.”

“We were sleeping together. I owed you—”

“Sex isn’t intimacy! Or love! And even if it were, no one owes those things. Look, I didn’t lie back an’ think of England while you beat my face to mush ‘cause we were shaggin’. Was ‘cause Dawn’s sister needed to be anywhere but that police station confessin’ to a murder she didn’t commit. And, yeah, it helped that it made you feel better in that moment. But if I’d said ‘stop’ or seriously tried to fight back – even for a second – you would’ve stopped. That’s who you are.” He stared at her incredulously. “You been thinking all these years you’re some kind of monster because when I didn’t fight back or say ‘no’ you didn’t stop?”

“Amongst other things, yeah.” She really wished she wasn’t driving. Having to look at the road instead of Spike was getting frustrating.

“I was – happy’s prolly too strong a word – but Buffy, I could take it. Everything you were dishing out, I could take. I knew my limits, an’ you never went outside them. You’d never helped me home or patched me up before, why would I expect it then?”

“You have terrible boundaries. You know that, right?”

He let out a snort of laughter. “Sure. Maybe. But you never crossed the ones I had.” 

“You’re never gonna convince me what I did was okay.” She sighed. “But I can maybe accept that it doesn’t bother you. I just….” To her horror, Buffy started crying. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“So don’t hurt me.” He turned anguished eyes towards her, wanting to help but not knowing how. He just couldn’t understand it.

“But if you don’t think what I did was bad, how can I ever trust you to say ‘no’?”

“You’re allowed boundaries, too. Don’t leave it up to me to decide.” He paused, unsure how to fix this, but feeling nothing he was saying was working.

Something suddenly crystallised for Buffy. “I don’t want to be your moral compass.”

Spike’s stomach seized in fear – this sounded like the beginning of the ‘I can’t be with a vampire’ speech he’d been waiting for since the day he first realised he loved her. “Was I askin’ you to be?”

“No, it’s just this whole thing with you trying, back then, to convince me I belonged in the dark, and now arguing me to death if I ever say there’s the slightest shadow in me. I’m not some bastion of goodness. I’m human. I have light and darkness. It’s a package deal. And you’re the same! You need to figure out your own moral compass instead of forcing me onto a pedestal as your true north and just blindly assuming whatever I do is good. Because I promise you, it isn’t.”

Spike blinked. He was definitely not used to this level of insight coming from Buffy. It was actually pretty wonderful. “You’re right,” he said softly. Because she was. He’d become invested in her goodness over the years without consciously realising it. He’d have to let that go if they were going to be a couple.

“Okay,” Buffy said, just managing to see his ‘aha moment’ and feeling like she should be floating. She’d known she hadn’t liked something there, but naming it, and hearing him agree it wasn’t right. It felt magical. Powerful. She wondered if Spike felt like this all the time when he did this with her.

She smiled, an evil glint sparking in her eye. That look she knew always made his knees go weak. “You know, I think it’s time for you to let me have my wicked way with you the next time I get drunk at a Scooby reunion.”

“Interesting… tell me more.” Spike was a little shocked by the rapid shift in mood. But … there was a dark part of him that was still desperate to rub her friends’ noses in the fact that she was his girl. He wasn’t proud of it, but it was definitely there. And it mattered enough that he could go with it.

Buffy shrugged lightly. “I’m not super into being watched.” She snuck a glance across at him, trying to work out his mood. “But I’ll admit the idea of fooling around under a blanket in a room full of my nearest and dearest is … not completely uninteresting.”

Even with all the smoke still in the air, he could smell just how ‘not uninterested’ she was. Feeling slightly giddy – butterflies slowly replacing the ball of gnawing anxiety in his stomach – he brought her hand to his mouth and kissed across her knuckles with just the barest hint of tongue. “Charlie and Angel’d know.”

Buffy shrugged. “Charlie’s way too polite to ever acknowledge it. And Angel….” She glanced across at Spike. “He could do with a little reinforcing of the message that you’re mine now.”

“Jesus, what you do to me,” Spike groaned. He liked a little exhibitionism – possibly a lot more than the next man – but it was that last suggestion she made making him feel like he’d been struck by lightning. Spike had fantasised about someone – anyone –staking a claim on him like that since before he was turned. He wished he could kiss her. No. He wished he could fuck her ‘til she forgot her own name, right there in the car.

Buffy watched his pupils blow straight to black, and felt suddenly overdressed against the rising heat of the car. “That’s settled, then,” she said, her breath hitching as she squirmed lightly in her seat. “And I’ll add that to the list of things that really flip your switch.”

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