Fic: ‘By the click of someone else’s slippers’ [6/7] [NC-17ish]

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series By the click of someone else's slippers
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I wonder what could happen in this particular chapter…

By the click of someone else’s slippers


S6 | NC-17(ish) | ~33,500 words total

Spike has spent the last few months in an AU LA with no memory of Buffy or even Sunnydale. Buffy comes to rescue him, but Spike’s not sure why she bothers. At the end of the day, though, it’s really just a rewrite of Smashed

[Chapter One]
[Chapter Five]

Chapter Six

After Dawn left, Spike had had a lot of time to think about leaving. In fact, he spent a good twenty-four hours thinking about it, and it seemed more than likely that it was a good idea after all.

However, before he’d had the chance to make his decision, it seemed as though someone else had got wind of his thoughts. His sleep was once again interrupted, if more furtively than before.

Initially only realising there was somebody moving around upstairs, Spike was on his feet in seconds. A pair of jeans pulled on and a purple shirt slung around his shoulders, it was only halfway up the ladder that he realised how well he recognised the particular pattern of footsteps he could hear. Moreover, the scent of sweat and the tick of an elevated heartbeat.

With nothing in particular to say, Spike took the last few rungs on the ladder carefully, easing himself into the darkness. There he found one Vampire Slayer standing in his entranceway, practically milling for all the pointlessness of every movement she made.

“Buffy?” he asked her, because nothing about this particular scene made sense. The way she’d done herself up was unfamiliar to him, from this dimension at least. Granted, he’d been missing for a while, but since she’d come back from the dead he’d grown used to thinking of her in harsh colours, blacks and reds and nothing he had a problem with, or the sort of thing that wiped her out entirely. This version of her had her hair swept back into some half pulled-out pony tail thing, and with her outfit made of green and pink, leather skirt and gold, she was reminding him of that girl who’d thrown herself of a tower. In what he felt could possibly be a good way.

At first, she didn’t respond to his question, just stared at him with something like fear in her eyes. After a moment, however, she seemed to pull herself together, put on a smile, and said to him, “Hi.” It was a reasonably auspicious start. And slightly less bizarre than the statement she followed it up with: “So, it’s about my cat.”

Spike quirked an eyebrow, trying to figure out how exactly this worked to be a joke at his expense. “What the bloody hell are you on about?” he asked her. He realised he hadn’t yet done his shirt up, but considering how nervous Buffy looked, he figured there was no reason to cover himself up just yet.

Of course, it kept him slightly out of step with the game she seemed to insist on playing. “My cat,” she repeated, looking at him like he was supposed to get it, whatever she wasn’t saying. She took a step further into the crypt, pulling out of the low twilight into the gloom proper, reminding him to light some candles. “He’s… He’s a cat,” she added, like she really hadn’t thought this through very far. “He’s missing.” She paused, and as Spike set his lighter to work she kept her eyes on him. “I… You’ve – helped me before,” Buffy eventually continued, one word at a time. With one candelabra alight, Spike paused to listen to the last part, annoyed how he found himself admiring the way this girl looked in candlelight. “So I was thinking,” she said, with a steady amount of conviction. “I mean, I wanted to ask you, you know…” She blushed, then, but finally she said it. “I wanted to ask if you would help me out again.”

“To find you cat,” he replied, sceptically. Now – there were many things Spike didn’t understand. Smoking bans, for one. Arsenal supporters. But above all of them was the mind of Buffy Summers. She could have asked him directly; she could have come into his crypt like she always had done and said it straight to his face, like she’d said so much else. But no. She had to come in and play out some cutesy routine that let her keep her final piece of distance from actually engaging with him. It was a habit of hers he certainly hadn’t missed. He thought he was having trouble getting back to grips with her? He’d never bloody known her at all. “I don’t know why you’re bothering.” Of course, he couldn’t prevent himself from playing right along with her. “It’ll probably come back on its own.” The scorn crept into his voice of its own accord. “That’s what most creatures do.”

Buffy nodded, quickly. Her heart was still going pitter-patter, but she drew slightly closer to him and the candlelight. “I know,” she said, and she looked at him almost like she was grateful. “I mean, he came back once before when I thought he was gone, but then he went missing again – and I was angry the first time, but this time I figure he might actually be gone for good, so…”

She was getting herself in a right state, all about some fantasy nowhere-cat that Spike could only hope was a metaphor for him. Dawn had mentioned how Spike was only the last in the line of triumphant returns, and if it turned out Buffy was talking about that galumphing prat Riley there was going to be unpleasantness.

From the way she was looking at him, however, it was difficult to believe she had eyes for anyone else. Spike knew that, on Buffy more than anyone, appearances could be deceptive. At the same time, it had been a long while since he’d looked at her without pain in his body and all of his memories intact. He thought about ending this whole détente – crossing the floor and pulling her into the clinch he could already imagine perfectly in his head. At least, Spike thought, it would get a reaction out of her – something real that cut through all this rubbish – help him figure out his feelings. But then the very last thing he wanted was to leave Sunnydale because she’d pushed him away. It would be his choice if he left; his choice if he stayed. It had to be.

For once in his unlife, therefore, Spike waited to see what would happen. The candles lapped up the stale air around him and his thumb itched on the pull of his lighter. It would have been easy to spark up a cigarette – there was a packet waiting for him on the windowsill, resting in the evening shade like all the others he had lying around half-empty. He didn’t reach for it, though. He held himself and waited.

After a few more agonising moments, just when Spike thought patience had proved itself the sin he’d always imagined, Buffy spoke. “You know, I really don’t have this figured out,” she said.

For an instant, Spike was convinced her heart stopped beating – but then all of his senses seemed to shut off, only revealing themselves as they came back one by one. So he wondered whether maybe it wasn’t him instead.

“I mean this,” Buffy continued, waving a hand between them. “What am I supposed to do?” She wasn’t making great reams of sense, but Spike supposed that she at least wasn’t talking about cats anymore. “I don’t see you for months and I figure, sure, maybe you were right to leave.” Clearly, this had been the Revello Drive consensus. Quite what it meant that Spike was too thick to have ever done it, he didn’t like to think. “And then,” Buffy continued to explain, “I find out that you didn’t actually leave because you wanted to, and – guess what?” She raised her hands, as if talking to an invisible audience – but only for a moment before her arresting gaze came back him. “It turns out you don’t even know who I am, so I can’t even blame you for staying away.” She accused, “And then you come back anyway, for reasons I honestly don’t understand – only to say that you’re going away again? For real this time. On purpose.”

When she put it like that, Spike had to accept it sounded confusing. At the same time, Buffy only had herself to thank for all of it, didn’t she? Also, he hadn’t said anything of the sort to anyone. “Well, what do you expect me to do?” Spike demanded of her, that welt of betrayal in him still aching.

Dawn was to blame for all of this, clearly, but that didn’t stop Spike from feeling annoyed that this was Buffy’s response. To come in and ask him about a cat? Did she not have any respect for him at all?

Spike didn’t intend to start pacing, but his feet took him anyway before he could regain control of them. “I can’t stay here, can I?” he tried to explain, mostly to himself. “Not with you. Not when you think so low of me.” All right, so he hadn’t entirely planned to get into this with her, not ever. And yet here he was. It made him laugh. “Never thought I had any pride, but it seems like you can surprise yourself sometimes.” Finally, Spike paused, looking Buffy in the eye to make sure she got it. “It was a bit of a wake-up call, right? Figuring out how little respect you really had for me.”

Across the room from him, Buffy looked wounded, but at least she had the grace not to try and contradict him. “I wanted you to be here,” she insisted instead, and it came out with no small ounce of disbelief. “When Dawn and Willow… When I discovered you were gone. And later, when I thought…” She shook her head. “I don’t know how it works, but I go to this other dimension wanting you and then I find you don’t want me.”

She explained it so absolutely that Spike felt like he had to interrupt. He started to respond, “Yeah, but –”

Immediately, however, Buffy talked straight over him, the earnest rhythms of her voice at odds with how her fists were clenching. “And that should have been the end of it,” she said, staring him down. “I screwed up; I failed. I pretty much left you to die all alone in another world and that was there on me.” Oh, so it was the sad little martyr act again. “Only you decide for no reason that makes sense that you’re gonna –”

“I’m in love with you, you stupid cow,” Spike raised his voice and snapped at her. Two more steps, right to the edge of her personal space, he tried to explain in words even a Buffy could understand. It almost felt like he was telling the truth. “I’m attracted to you,” he stuck a finger at himself and then at her, in case he was talking some foreign language. “Down-and-out, chip-in-his-head, cheated-on fool, me. Doesn’t matter if you make me a sheep farmer in the Outer fucking Hebrides; you have some hold on me that keeps me hoping that I might be somebody worth being at some point.” God knows why.

“You were in love with someone you didn’t even know,” Buffy dismissed, the true colour of her finally revealed. It was nasty, the way her face blanched, like a gleam of light on a razor blade. Spike, as he now well remembered, couldn’t get enough of it. “You still are. You don’t know anything about me apart from how to build your slutbot and feel my fist in your face.” In the end she lifted her chin and accused him straight, “You don’t even know what love is.”

“And that’s why I went for you, isn’t it?” Spike sneered, looking down at her. He wasn’t touching that bit about love; he’d heard it too many times. Sometimes, in the end, there was only so much punishment he could take. “Could’ve gone for the other one,” he tried to explain instead. “The pretty one,” he pointed out. “The bloody sane one.” That earned him a glare, but did it matter? “In the end I always end up chasing after you!

It was disgust that Spike could feel, but he couldn’t say that his motor wasn’t revving all the same. The way Buffy was looking at him, glare not yet broken, it was inevitable. Hate burnt through her in a way he couldn’t look away from; it made him want to break her into a thousand pieces, cast her out of his mind and have himself guided by some other star.

After a moment, Spike rocked forward on the ball of his foot, not sure what he was going to say but more than ready to let it rip. In that instant, however, two strong hands were seizing at his shirt front and he lurched forward, off-balance, a swell of passion rising in him.

The kiss was unavoidable, the only outlet Spike had for the rage he felt against himself and his long-wavered conviction to leave; the only response to the smell of her suddenly all around him. Words were swallowed back to cut inside of him instead, somewhere around that kidney wound he’d inherited.

After the last time, there wasn’t much time for the preshow. Buffy was walking him back against the wall; Spike pulled her to him, pushing back and wrestling her around. The light from the candles was warm on their left hand side, revealing strange, abstract glimpses of chiaroscuro as his eyes drifted in and out of shut. Control was gone, even over his eyelids, but he could feel Buffy laugh as he pushed her up and winded her, hands under her thighs and a solid ram to keep her in place. She did the rest, one hand on his shoulder for balance; the other not playing around this time to get them both sorted out – her harsh, panting breaths tickling Spike’s chin.

By the time Buffy guided him in, Spike knew what was coming and yet was still caught by surprise. A cry tumbled out of him and his head slipped past Buffy’s to thump into the wall.

She laughed at him, still breathing deeply. As they steadily pulled together, Buffy’s hand that had been fiddling around came up and caught the side of his skull, fingers squeezing bruises into his jaw as she pulled him back to kiss her. It was all a bit much, as far as Spike was concerned. He could feel himself nestled inside of her, and the weight of her resting on him, the smooth and soft insides of her thighs like silk against his exposed hips. The love that he remembered – which had always borne him through – it rose up from somewhere and made him feel like an alien in his own skin.

Buffy, for her part, was still holding on, pressing light kisses in smiles around the edges of his mouth. It annoyed him, how she ignored the particular existential crisis she brought with her. However, after a small response to one kiss made her moan, Spike decided the moment was not now for figuring out who he was. Sinking down back into himself, he reclaimed control of his hips and his tongue, using his frustration in one of the few ways he knew how.

Spike woke in his bed, the weight of morning like a curse. This was weird, since he couldn’t quite remember how he’d got downstairs. Clearly he’d passed out at some point, as Buffy probably had right alongside him: Spike could remember more bruises than good feelings for at least the first few goes, but then eventually something calmer, something more like sex as Spike figured it was known to other people. They must have found the softer surface.

Since was morning, they couldn’t even have slept that long. From the ache in his muscles, Spike knew he would have rather slept longer, but the unexpected feeling of someone sitting bolt upright two inches from his nose was more than enough to rouse him from slumber.

Steadily, Spike cracked his eyes open, surprised and yet not surprised by how light Buffy was on the other side of the mattress, how pale the un-made-up parts of her were when set against his sheets. She had one of them held across her front, but seemed to have forgotten his eyeline was set on her back and the uninterrupted transition from her shoulder blades down to her coccyx, the ribs expanding and contracting just above her waist and the slight fleshy hips she had on her. He’d pulled her hair out hours before; it hung in thick, sweaty tangles as she breathed deeply, in and out.

“Oh shit,” she whispered, like she couldn’t quite believe where she was.

Spike couldn’t help but reach out a hand to trace the line of her spine. Her words didn’t sink in; he just reacted to the sound of her voice, caught up in the sensation of feeling, sated, warm and not insignificantly hungry. His stomach rumbled, but it only made his toes tingle, like the way the ache in his legs made him feel like a king.

Unfortunately, Buffy did not seem to share this feeling. When Spike touched her, she flinched, turning her back away and wrenching the sheet further to cover more of her body. Of course, that had the presumably unintended consequence of exposing him all the more. Spike snickered as she blushed. “This wasn’t supposed to happen!” Buffy exclaimed, clearly in a panic. “I was gonna ask you to help me out again, and… And you weren’t gonna leave, and…”

“Right then,” Spike began, starting to get rather pissed off about this now. “So, you usually use sex to get what you want, is that it?” From how she shrank away from him, it was clearly the wrong thing to say, but Spike wasn’t sure that he cared. One moment he was waking up thinking that he’d possibly just hit a turning point on the shitness of his existence, only in the next to find himself feeling used and wrung-out like some mouldy old dishrag. It wasn’t a new feeling. “Because I have to say, it does explain a few things about how your lot have ever saved the world…”

She didn’t look at him, Buffy; didn’t say anything; didn’t fight back. She just pulled the sheet entirely from the bed and turned away, clearly starting the hunt for her clothes.

Remarkably, some actually had made it downstairs with them, but Spike didn’t care about that. The girl was shaking like a leaf, out of anger or else something deeper, unable to get a handle on her guttering breath. It made Spike feel like a heel. “Buffy!” he called after her, as she retreated into a particularly gloomy shadow. “Wait, look; I didn’t mean it…” Climbing out of bed, he clambered through the debris left over from when they’d tried it against the bookcase. With a little effort, he managed to pen her into a corner, just about keeping a respectable distance. “You felt something, yeah?” was what came out of his mouth, because apparently he was pathetic after all. Buffy looked terrified. “It’s only natural,” Spike continued. “I’ve been away a long time; feelings build up; they come out in unexpected…”

“No,” Buffy replied, dashing his hopes into dust. She shook her head, at least looking at him now as she clutched her top to her chest, the flimsy rag that it was. “You haven’t seen me all this time,” she explained, her eyes a little glassy. “You don’t know. I mean, the last time I came back from the dead I went through this whole angry-at-the-world, sexy-dance-with-Xander phase, but… I’m out of control this time; I’m…”

“You never fucked Harris,” Spike sneered, not sure whether he was asking her or telling her.

Wrinkling her nose, Buffy conceded the point, but immediately pushed on. “Maybe not,” she said, “but you don’t get it. The way I’ve been with people…”

It was disconcerting, the feeling he was in the wrong place; Spike had forgotten it until Buffy gave it back him. He tried to ignore it, but it set him back a touch.

Buffy was still explaining, accusing him, “And you! In that other place…” She didn’t actually need to remind him. “We’d barely met and you wouldn’t do what I wanted so, what, I think it’s OK to pretty much assault you? What kind of person does that?”

For a moment, Spike tried to figure out if she was entirely serious. From the way she was looking at him, it almost seemed like she was. “Well, I have to say,” he told her, glad to be back on ground where he could feel quite confident, “if you’ll let me speak for Spikes everywhere, I think you’ll find we do quite well when a girl like you decides to take an interest…”

“Oh, come on, Spike,” Buffy interrupted, impatiently, “you know that’s not true.” Her hand was loosening on her sheet, holding it more casually, and some corresponding part of Spike’s brain remembered they were actually having this conversation naked. But then Buffy continued, “Imagine if Glory had come onto you like that.” The feeling died. “She’s, what, preppy and blonde and a little bit crazy? Should be your type, right?” Buffy suggested, preppy and blonde and crazy as anything before she finished, “Somehow I don’t think you’d appreciate her hand down your pants.”

Despite that rather terrifying image, Spike decided the conversation had really gone on long enough without him trying his luck, so he edged a little closer, catching Buffy’s eyes in his. “Well, no,” he agreed, before reminding her. “But we went over this last night: you, Goldilocks, are special.”

Instinctively, it seemed, Buffy brought a hand up to her hair, running fingers through knots as her big, bright eyes resolutely didn’t drop from his face. She’d probably figured out that there was a growing sight to see. “But I was using you,” she said, like some therapist had told her to. “I used you last night. I keep doing it, over and over, taking advantage of your feelings, everybody’s feelings, just to get what I…” A guilty swallow. “To make myself feel better. And now I’m here – and I can see it – and I…”

As far as Spike was concerned, all Buffy had figured out was the foundation of most relationships, but that probably wasn’t what she needed to hear. She was clearly expecting something from him now, her heart pounding in his ears and the sheet held so loose that it barely held across the curves of her breasts, scooping low under her arms to the back of her.

Spike wasn’t quite sure what to do, but had spent too long with frightened animals now not to tread lightly around anything that looked ready to bolt. “Look,” he tried, coming in a little closer. She didn’t stop him. “Come back to bed, love, yeah?” he asked her, and she bit her lip. Spike figured he almost had her; this part at least all made sense. He reached out a hand and traced a thumb over her cheek and, for reasons only known to Buffy herself, she let him. “Don’t have to figure it out all at the beginning.”

“I’m not a puppy, you know,” Buffy told him, serious accusation in her eyes like she’d figured out his game completely. She was still smiling, however, so Spike didn’t really care. “You can’t just sweet-talk me into the back of your car.”

Spike raised an eyebrow. “What kind of pet detective do you think I am?” he asked. Sweet-talk? In what universe was he meant to go about horse-whispering jumpy mares. Some things simply made universal sense. “Mostly,” he pointed out to Buffy, because she was still looking at him sceptically, “All I do is this.”

And then, even as she let out what even Buffy couldn’t pretend was not a delighted squeal, Spike ducked round to her back and seized her up by the waist, two arms wrapped to hold her caught against him. She struggled, but that didn’t work so well with the sheet still wrapped around her, and, with the few strategic footsteps Spike placed on its end, by the time they made it back to the bed it was gathered fairly uselessly in a trail from Spike’s arms. Buffy’s bum was warm and pliant against his stomach, her breasts entirely exposed to peeking eyes as he worked his teeth between her neck and her shoulder. She was laughing, screeching almost as she wriggled her legs, clawing at his arms to try and find purchase on his wrists.

All in all, by the time Buffy was thrown back onto the bed, she was bright pink with anticipation and seemed to waste no time in rising on her hands and kicking off the last clinging folds of modesty. It was a simple enough equation. Of course, Spike’s slow pursuit was ruined as she reached out and yanked him down to join her, but then she was kissing him, for a second day in a row, and scissoring her legs between his. Flesh ran against flesh across his thighs and calves and feet and backside; her arms held him to her, in a tighter hold than him.

Naturally, Spike didn’t resist. The ferocity of Buffy’s attack, however, couldn’t keep him from running his mouth, not this time. “So you feel nothing for me?” he asked her, just as he got a hand between her legs and she was splaying herself open to greet him. “Is that what you’re saying?” A couple of fingers and Spike could feel a shudder go through her. “All you ever missed was that helping hand round the house, on patrol?”

Buffy’s face was still underneath his, blood all caught up in her cheeks as she panted for air. He raised his eyebrows. “I don’t know –” A cry broke out of her as Spike found somewhere sensitive; it made him cackle. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Buffy continued when she had breath to do so, eyes hooded as she started on a rhythm and pushed fingers into his hair, almost tenderly. “Didn’t you see me in the other world?” she asked. “I was to-” A gasp; she bit her teeth. Spike pushed harder. “I was totally business-like,” Buffy finished, before tipping her head back to strain against him, eyes shut, moaning.

Spike amused himself for a minute, thinking it over. Running his lips against Buffy’s jugular, sucking on the taste of her sweat and sticking a hickey right over the scar tissue, he tilted her hips and replaced his fingers with his cock, which was apparently a very welcome guest indeed. Of course, as Buffy curled up in appreciation, grabbed his head in both hands and stuck her tongue in his mouth, Spike didn’t find he had much room for thoughts. He was too occupied with finding purchase enough to keep moving, with keeping the tears in the back of his eyes as his insides received the most tender attention they’d ever had.

All right, so Spike found himself getting carried away. He gave up on pressuring her – laid her back instead and reached behind him to massage every last tension out of her. At the back of his mind, some voice warned him that they’d only spent one night together. They hadn’t yet set foot into the outside world. Hadn’t faced the Scoobies and their beady little eyes.

But even as he was carried away, as Buffy herself went and put in that little bit of extra effort, Spike couldn’t help but think that it all might have gone a lot worse. Anyone with either half or a half-occupied brain knew that Buffy had to be joking when she said she’d been business-like in the other place, which meant…

Whatever it meant, the romantic in Spike couldn’t finish any spectacular morning shag without expressing himself. “I love you,” he promised, cradling Buffy’s body as it trembled and rolling over so he could hold her properly.

“I don’t want you to go,” she whispered, shaking harder as Spike nuzzled her hair. “I wanted you to come back. You… I was… There were times I nearly died.”

Whether she was talking about Sweet the sing-a-long demon or something else, Spike didn’t know. He didn’t really want to know. As he thought about his life in the other world, how as far as he knew he had actually been long dead, Spike wondered whether he didn’t know exactly what Buffy meant. “It’s all right,” he told her eventually, holding the dream of her as closely to him as her skin and bones. It almost felt like it was enough for him.


[Chapter Seven – the conclusion!]

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