And part 2. That’s it; thank you for reading, if you have :) Now to do some reading of my own…
In the clearing, the attraction of sunbathing was rapidly wearing off for Spike. The sunshine might not be of the vampire-dusting variety, but he was discovering how uncomfortable it was on skin which hadn’t seen daylight for well over a hundred years. He peered down at the burgeoning redness of his chest and frowned. Trust him to be the first vampire in history to get sunburn. He sat up with a sigh and looked across to the forest. There was no sign of Buffy. He frowned again. And that thought shouldn’t really be making him feel as disappointed as it seemed it was. He shrugged his shirt back over his head, wincing as the material grazed sun-sensitive skin. Maybe he should go and look for her. Much as he wouldn’t normally seek out the slayer’s irritating company, in the current situation it was probably better than nothing. He tramped off into the woods. But only just.
The clearing and its contents took Spike as much by surprise as they had Buffy. A castle. Wasn’t expecting that. Spike peered up at the towering walls. Who the bloody hell would want to build something that looked like it had been designed by a Disneyland architect on speed in the centre of this godforsaken forest? He shook his head in disbelief at the picture-book towers and icing-sugar white walls and turned towards the bridge spanning the sparkling blue moat. It was then he felt it. He glared at up at the castle suspiciously. Something wasn’t quite right. It looked solid enough in all its princess-perfect prettiness, but when he looked closely something seemed to shift at the periphery of his vision, the image shimmering and blurring uncomfortably, although if he tried to focus on whatever it was, the castle walls were suddenly all bright white solidity. Spike frowned up at the towering walls. It might have been an effect of the sun on his unaccustomed eyes he guessed, but it was making him bloody edgy. He wandered over to the bridge and peered across. The sense of disquiet was stronger the closer he got to the castle; something at some deep level was suggesting quietly that he might just consider not crossing the bridge, and that backing away now might be a good idea. Keen as he was to follow that suggestion, Buffy’s scent was strong on the air and if she was in there, then he had the uneasy feeling there might be some sort of danger involved. Not that he cared about her, naturally, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to be stuck here on his own, and besides if there was going to be some sort of fighting involved, he wanted a bit of the mayhem. He squared his shoulders and crossed the bridge.
As he stepped into the courtyard the sense of unease deepened further. The castle was wrapped in a silence that felt heavy and expectant, a tension in the air that closed around him uncomfortably, making him feel almost suffocated – which given the lack of need to breathe was somewhat alarming. The open door ahead of him loomed darkly like a maw. Hesitantly Spike stepped forward, frowning into the blackness beyond. A suggestion of sound, a soft susurration that teased the limits of his hearing seemed to rise briefly from the darkness, then disappear back to silence. “Buffy?” he called hopefully, but the silence swallowed his voice and despite the suggestion of a cavernous space beyond, no echo disturbed the stillness. The quiet suggestion from his subconscious to retreat had developed into a strong urge to turn tail and get the hell out of there. Whatever this was, every fibre of his being was telling him it was not a good place to be. If the slayer was stupid enough to venture into that place, then she could fight her own battles. Yeah. Just like she did with the troll. Cursing Buffy roundly, Spike stepped through the door and into the hall beyond. As he moved forward, dust rose from the flagged floor to flash in the shafts of light that lanced down from the high windows. Vague shapes of heavy furniture against the walls loomed from the gloom while above him pale, ghostly banners set high on the walls undulated gently in a breeze Spike couldn’t feel. He shivered. It was cold, damp, slightly smelly and downright unpleasant and what had possessed Buffy to go exploring the castle’s dingy depths was beyond him. But explore she clearly had, and so, cursing her stupidity under his breath with even greater vigour, Spike followed her trail across the hall and up the stone staircase.
At the top of the tower was a single room, the heavy wooden door invitingly open. Spike stood at the doorway and peered inside. In the centre of the room was a raised stone dais which pulsated softly with an eerie orange glow as if it was lit from within, and lying stretched out on top of it apparently sleeping peacefully, was Buffy. “Oh, for…” Spike growled in annoyance and crossed the room to the dais. “Will you wake up? Now is not the time to be lyin’ down on the job! There’s somethin’ seriously wrong with this place an’ before you accuse me of bein’ paranoid an’ start rabbitin’ on about trees you…” He hesitated at her lack of response. Her face was unnaturally pale, lips bloodless. “Buffy?” he said softly, reaching down hesitantly to touch her cheek. Her skin was cold even to his touch. Unexpected panic hit him with the force of an express train. He pressed his finger tips to her neck, frantically feeling for a pulse, and breathed a sigh of relief as he found one, slow and weak, but there. “Buffy!” He picked up her limp form and shook her none too gently. She didn’t respond. “Oh, bloody hell!” He laid her limp body back on the dais and ran a hand over his hair in despair. Now what? Life saving skills had never been a top priority – quite the opposite in fact. A dim memory lurched up from his subconscious. He looked down at her pale face for a moment, swore softly, and bent toward her.
Buffy was floating. Her mind was peaceful, her body liquid with relaxation. The air was soft around her, wrapping her in a blanket of gentle sound, a soft suggestion of music. She felt free, all her thoughts and hopes and fears and desires, all the hidden, denied things clear and open to her. Gentle voices were calling to her to join them, to drift away on the warm light to a place of peace, of perfection, somewhere where all the petty considerations of her life would cease to be important, where she could be true to herself, where she would be at rest. She felt herself relaxing further, giving herself up their soft promises, slipping softly away.
But then someone was kissing her, firm, cool lips against hers, lips that tasted darkly familiar. Spike, she thought lazily, Spike’s kissing me.
The softness and warmth and music was calling to her, drawing her deeper, with promises of paradise. But Spike’s mouth on hers was also offering her promises, drawing on thoughts and feelings and hidden truths. She felt the limpid relaxation fade, felt her body stirring, felt the slow, sluggish flow of her blood quicken. The lure of the voices and their promises still tugged at her mind, still urged her to follow them, to find peace and happiness with them. It would be easy to slip away, harder to return, and getting harder as time passed to escape the lethargy in her body. Time to choose. With a soft sigh of regret for what she may be turning away from she made her choice, wrapped her arms around Spike’s neck, and kissed him back.
Buffy’s response took Spike somewhat by surprise. That the slayer was kissing him was astounding enough, but that she was doing so quite so much enthusiasm was downright staggering. Even more surprising, however, was how much, once the initial shock wore off, he was enjoying it. Reasoning that he wasn’t going to risk annoying Buffy by fighting her off, Spike decided to go with the flow despite the distinct feeling that this – with the slayer – wasn’t going to end well.
The atmosphere in the room was becoming increasingly forbidding, and the chill fingers of air against his skin almost menacing. Despite the strange and almost overwhelming attraction of the feel of her body against his, and the unexpected desire to let the slayer carry on with the increasingly extended kiss, even Spike had to admit to himself that this simply not the place. “Buffy – pet.” He dragged his mouth away from hers, ignoring her whimper of protest. “Look, snap out of it. We’ve got to get out of here.” He tried to pull her to her feet, but she wasn’t exactly cooperative. “C’mon, damn it! Walk!”
“No…Stay here. With me.” She smiled sleepily and patted the bed next to her. “We can snuggle…”
“Oh for – “ With an exasperated growl Spike flung the giggling slayer over his shoulder and ran back down the twisting stairs across the hall and back into the sunlight.
Once back in the safety of the tree cover, Spike dropped his burden unceremoniously on the ground and sat down next to her. “Are you OK?” He leaned over to lbrush her hair away from her eyes. “Buffy?”
“Mmm… Do it again…” Buffy sighed and reached up to wrap her arms around his neck, tilting her head back to offer him her lips.
“Buffy… bloody hell!” Spike tried resolutely to break free from her embrace. Whatever had been going on back there, she clearly hadn’t recovered from it, and when she finally did this was not going to count in his favour. “Look, pet, you’re not yourself…”
“No?” Buffy frowned drowsily. “Who am I then?”
“I mean,” Spike continued to try and disentangle himself from the determinedly clinging slayer. “Something happened in the castle, an’ it’s…”
Buffy interrupted him. “You talk too much. Anyone ever told you, you talk too much? Shhh. More kissing.” She grabbed the back of his head and pulled his mouth forcibly down to hers.
“Will you stop that!” Spike struggled free from her embrace and jumped to his feet. “For fucks sake, wake up woman!” Buffy’s reaction to his increasingly desperate appeals were a pout and wriggle that sent Spike’s mind in directions he really didn’t think it was safe to go. So, in the absence of any better idea, and in fear for his rapidly diminishing self-restraint, he did all he could think of doing. He slapped her.
That seemed to do the trick. “Oww!” Buffy was suddenly very awake. She struggled to sit up and glared in outrage at Spike. “You kissed me!”
“What?! Kiss of life is all! You were barely breathin’ an’…”
“And so you took advantage! Of all the despicable, low-down…”
“Hey! You were the one who stuck her tongue down my throat!”
“I so did not!” Buffy blustered, but the memory of the taste of his lips and her response flooded back, reminding her that actually, she did, and very nice it had been too. “OK… so maybe I did…. but it was an enchantment or a spell or whatever…”
“An enchantment.” Spike shook his head. “Yeah.” His voice was suddenly bitter with hurt. “Must’ve been huh? ‘Cause no way it would happen without, right?” He turned away. “Whatever. Forget it. We’d best get movin’. Whatever that thing was…” He stood up, keeping his back resolutely turned toward her. “No buggerin’ idea where we’re movin’ to, though.”
Strange half-memories began to surface in Buffy’s mind. Something was wrong. Something had happened and Spike…“Spike! Wait. Look, I…” She started again as he turned back to her. “What happened. Back there.”
He sighed and crouched down next to her. “I dunno. Found you in the room at the top of the tower more dead than alive. There was somethin’ goin’ on… place reeked of…” He shrugged and frowned. “Power… somethin’. You were…” he shook his head. “Fadin’. Couldn’t barely feel a pulse… didn’t seem to be breathin… So…”
“So you…” The memory of his mouth on hers brought the blood rushing to her cheeks and she looked down at her hands. “You kinda… saved my life.”
Spike sniffed disparagingly. “Make that twice today. Three times if you count the bears.”
“Oh, c’mon! I so had that thing beat on my own!”
“Oh, right, so bein’ slung over his shoulder an’ carried off to a fate more than likely worse than death counts as havin’ him beat in your book?”
“Worse than death? You know, I think I should’ve taken my chances with the troll! Couldn’t have been worse than being stuck in the middle of some godforsaken wood with you!”
“Well, I should’ve let him get on with it on reflection! Match made in heaven I’d say. You and Shrek would’ve made the prettiest couple.”
“Shrek,” Buffy said crossly. “Was an ogre.”
There was a moments silence before they both burst into relieved, tension-banishing laughter. Spike threw himself down at her side and Buffy turned to face him, her laughter fading. Whatever was going on, wherever they were, whether or not this was real, the day had taught her something, about herself and about Spike. She looked at him solemnly. “You know, you came running to my rescue across that clearing – right into the sunlight.”
Spike looked surprised. “Bloody hell! Didn’t even…” He stopped and frowned with embarrassment. “I mean, I knew, obviously…”
“No. You didn’t.” She shook her head. “All kinds of stupid.” She touched his cheek. “Spike,” she said gently at his soft frown of puzzlement. “Thank you. For the Troll. And the kissing.” Especially the kissing, she thought, as she reached up to kiss his cheek, her lips lingering against the cool firmness of his skin.
“An’ the bears.” He gave her a surprised, lopsided smile. “Not that I’m counting.”
“And the bears.” Buffy conceded. “Well, let’s hope I learned my lesson, huh? No more napping in beds in fairy-tale castles for me.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Spike nodded wisely.
“So, what do we do now? All I could see from the top of that tower was trees.” She sighed. “We might be stuck here forever.”
“Dunno.” Spike settled back against a tree trunk and peered up at the sky. “Gonna be gettin’ dark, though.”
Buffy glanced up at the blue arc above the trees. “Yeah? How can you tell?”
“Vampire, remember? Best get some rest. Start out again in the morning. Don’t want to stumble on anythin’ unexpected in the dark.”
“You’re probably right.” Buffy settled back next to him. “Not that I’m keen to be sleeping. Given what happened last time.” She glanced over at Spike, suddenly very conscious of the feel of his arm pressed against hers. Her eyes lingered on the curve of his lips. Not that it didn’t have its compensations, she found herself thinking.
Spike raised an eyebrow. “Well, maybe we can think of something better to do.”
“Bit of resuscitation practice maybe?” She looked up at him under lowered lashes.
“Well, if you think you might be tempted to go all sleepin’ beauty again,” Spike reasoned. “Might be an idea.”
“You do know this is all a dream?” Buffy said as his lips brushed hers.
“’Course it is. Any minute now you’ll wake up, Captain Cardboard snorin’ at your side…”
“Riley doesn’t…” she began before all thoughts of Riley were chased from her mind for a very long time.
The clan chief, Ubër Ohn, was less than pleased. He drew himself up to his full seven inches and proceeded to give the abashed demon a very strict talking to. His consort Anya, known to all the other clan members as ‘Titty Anya’ due to her most prominent features, simpered at his side. “And not even two humans!” He shook his head in disbelief. “One of them was a vampire. Didn’t you notice?”
“Well, he wasn’t behaving like a vampire…” the little demon sulked, glaring at the floor.
“You know the rules.” Ubër Ohn went on severely. “Humans are only brought to the Pharee dimension to reinforce energy levels. No objection whatever to you importing for that. But – a vampire! In Phareeland! What were you thinking? They have at best minimal useful lifeforce and you know the glamour doesn’t work fully on vampires. Without the glamour to draw them in to the Extraction Centre, we are at somewhat of a disadvantage. “ He gestured sweepingly at his small but perfectly formed frame. “We can hardly carry them there. And now they’ve terrified the life out of poor Tiny…”
The Pharee demon looked at her feet and shuffled uncomfortably.
“I’m very fond of that Troll.“ Ubër Ohn went on wistfully. “He has the sweetest nature – as long as you don’t pick a fight with him, naturally – and he could be very useful when the humans were less than amenable to progressing to the Centre. He’s completely traumatised. Won’t come out of his room.” He shook his head sadly and glared at the little demon again. “It appears we don’t really have a choice, do we? That vampire creature is clearly… “ He winced. “Attached to the female and will stick by her, come what may …”
“I could fight him. Knock him out,“ the little demon suggested helpfully.
“You’re six inches tall. You’d end up getting swatted like Cousin Cowslip. No. we’ll just have to send them back. Do some sort of memory wipe on them.“ Ubër Ohn frowned thoughtfully. “We’d better find them before they do any more damage. Come. You can do the sending.”
“Oh! But I brought them! My power…”
“Will be down for a long while afterwards, yes.” Ubër Ohn said grimly. “No more transdimensional party-hopping. You will have to stay home and work on domestic duties. Maybe that will teach you to be more careful next time. Come on, let’s get it over with.” He closed his eyes and shifted them both to a tree above where Spike and Buffy were clearly deeply absorbed in each other, and very much not sleeping.
“If only we could harness that power…” The little demon giggled.
Ubër Ohn harrumphed in embarrassment. “This stops now, before there’s any more damage done. Now, send them back. Exactly as they were when you found them. And don’t forget the memory wipe. Put it right.” He frowned threateningly. “Or you may find yourself permanently on cauldron scrubbing.”
With a final admonishing wave of his finger he disappeared, leaving the abashed demon to muster the last of her remaining powers and carefully – because cauldron scrubbing ruined her nails – send them back to where they belonged. She sighed. Perhaps it was time she learnt to cut back on the wine; and the pursuit of the cute orange-haired demon. It seemed to cause her no end of trouble. But then, she mused, trouble could be fun. She grinned and concentrated on home. Nothing happened. The Pharee demon wailed softly. She’d forgotten to hold back enough power to get her back. Grumbling to herself she climbed down from the tree and set off along the path. It was a long walk home when you’re only eight inches tall.
Buffy moved slowly back to consciousness with the reluctance of a sleeper waking from a very good dream. She sighed contentedly and opened her eyes slowly. It took a few minutes for her stunned brain to comprehend where she was. Unless her senses deceived her, and she had no reason to think they did, she was sitting on the ground – no, in truth she was sitting on a sleeping Spike, curled against his chest, her arms around his waist, his duster covering them both like a blanket. She leapt to her feet with a squeak of surprise, rousing an equally confused Spike.
“What… why… who…” Buffy looked around in bewilderment. “Where are the trees?”
Spike was watching her cautiously. “Trees?”
“Yes there were… there were…” Buffy hesitated. Trees? Where had that come from? She turned on Spike. “Why was I on you lap?”
“’Bout to ask you the same question!” Spike looked as mystified as she was. Their eyes met and the spark that passed between them and the feelings it ignited only added to their confusion.
Buffy looked away quickly. “Don’t you ever mention this again,” she growled heading off across the cemetery.
“Well, why the hell would I? Not exactly do my reputation much good, would it?” Spike called after her.
“Sleepin’ with the slayer? Hardly the thing.”
“Sleeping with…? In your dreams!” Buffy flushed violently and broke into a run. Dreams? If the half remembered images and feelings in her mind were anything to go by, her own dreams were going to take some dealing with. As was finding an excuse for waking up in Spike’s arms. Resolutely putting all thoughts of the night aside, she reached home and climbed into bed alongside a softly snoring Riley. It was a long time before she finally gave in to sleep.
Neither of them did mention that night again, largely because both of them had lost any memory of it by the time they woke the next day. The after affects did linger, however. Spike went on to have increasingly worrying dreams involving the slayer and his feelings for her. And it was a long time before Buffy stopped finding the sight of Spike standing beneath the tree outside her house strangely – and worryingly – erotic.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/267607.html