Put the Masks Away
Buffy still remembered the first time she really kissed Spike.
The way his bruised, battered cheek felt along her smooth, unscathed skin; how he had flinched the moment he realized it was her kissing him and not the robot. Buffy still believed it wasn’t a very good copy of her. She could still pick out the details of the way it all felt. She stormed into his crypt, hoping he would give her some reason to kill him but nothing came. His words pierced something in her, making her finally realize, even if only for an instant, that he was capable of being a man.
When she found Spike or rather stumbled upon him at the beginning of the school year in the high school’s basement, she was eerily relieved that he was not dead. Although she had never really considered the possibility all that much. After all, he did attack her before he left town and she had to put on a good game face, pretend that she wasn’t the least bit interested or concerned about where he had gone. Learning he had gotten a soul, for her, was another thing altogether.
Buffy cried for him, in the tiny church where he burned himself on the large cross. She cried for both of them, for the things they’d never have, for the man in him that was fighting so hard to stay strong and the woman in her that was breaking apart while seeing him struggle so openly with all the things he’d ever done wrong. For her it was a defining moment. Spike had changed, fought and won a soul, for her. Every day since she invested some of her thoughts to the redemption he was so obviously seeking.
Spike listened to the sound of her breathing, as she sat across from him on the cot. When he closed his eyes he was positive he could count her pulse, the rhythm of her heart, just by her breathing pattern. Of course that was a common thing for a vampire and it had somehow become more powerful with the soul. Her ragged breath pumped through him, whispering in his ear and slithering into the blood that melted underneath his skin. For a second he thought he felt his heart beat but it was just the echo of hers beating in his eardrums.
The scent of alcohol and orange juice that had emanated from her mouth had dissipated over the course of the hour they’d been playing games of spit. It was another thing he noticed other than the fact that the alcohol she consumed beforehand made her cheeks red, reminding him of Shirley Temple in old black and white films. They used so much makeup on the little child making her seem like some zombie from Halloween. Buffy didn’t look that flushed, just childlike. She kept pulling her hair away from her face and shoulders, wrapping it around in a twist, and then letting it fall against her shoulders. He would smile every time she leaned over and her hair would once again fall in her face causing her obvious distress.
Spike had stopped himself various times from rushing his hand to the strands of hair that would pester her forehead, eyes, and cheeks, lying across her neck. Even after all their time together he still felt like a little boy, hoping for her to love him which only led to nervous behavior on his part.
His lips felt chapped whenever he ran his tongue over them, trying to get rid of the brittleness. Buffy would glance at him briefly, observing the way he was obviously annoyed at how red his lips were becoming. She quietly enjoyed their flush, the color of blood, of their kisses. It left her wanting and craving more from him once again.
She knew now that if her calling had been anything other than a slayer she would’ve been able to lie her way out of anything. The past hour with Spike only proved that; the way she’d throw down cards, hurriedly, avoiding any contact with his hand. Her self-control was frightening. It was hard and easy all at the same time. She had to keep her yearning to throw her arms around him, lay on top of him and kiss him so hard that they both would forget what it was they were hiding from. It by no means meant that at some point she wouldn’t just give in, silently hoping he would ease himself on top of her so that she did not have to feel so guilty for wanting to do it herself.
The sun had risen higher over the course of the few spit games. Both Buffy and Spike had learned to read the patterns of the sun and the moon; when and how they would meet again being part of it. Buffy could tell by the tiniest bit of sunlight, that the element of light had changed.
“What are you waiting for?” Buffy asked, breaking them both out from their thoughts.
Spike tilted his head; peeking over at her, with a cigarette hanging from the side of his mouth, smoke gliding up and around them. She could smell the nicotine sinking into her hair, reminding her that once she got back upstairs she’d have to wash her hair quite thoroughly with whoever’s shampoo happened to be in the shower. Buffy never thought she’d start using other people’s shampoo but apparently all the other girls had been using hers and she ran out. “Everyone uses my shampoo,” she blurted out, shaking her head stupidly after realizing the words had left her mouth.
Spike looked at her curiously not sure which admission he should respond to first. “Well…” he began to say but stopped himself before his scrambled thoughts turned into words. “Buy more?” he said skeptically. He looked down at the last of his cards, placing a five of spades on top of a five of clubs.
Buffy sighed annoyingly. “The salon closed a few weeks ago, everyone is leaving the hellmouth,” her bottom lip stuck out a little bit, again reminding Spike of her innocent appearance. “Well not us,” she said.
“I see,” Spike said nodding his head, taking the cigarette between his fingers and tapping the ashes to the floor. Buffy looked up at him amused. “Ready?” he asked referring to the cards that were before them. She was the only one that had any spit cards left and they’d ended up holding up the game while he lit and smoked some of his cigarette.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” she answered, feigning irritation at his question but smiled anyway. “1-2-3 spit,” Buffy threw one of her last spit cards down to the pile she had created earlier in their third game.
They both stared at the ten of spades and back down at their own cards to see if they had anything that could go on top of it. Buffy reacted quickly, not wanting to lose another game throwing her jack of hearts on top of the ten. Spike watched her fingers move to turn over a few of the cards that had been hiding underneath others and decided to wait till she threw her queen down to engage in the game. “What are you doing?” she slanted her neck to the side, peeking up at him through the hair that was falling in her face.
“Waiting for you,” Spike answered, moving his chin up a little as it nodded to her cards. Buffy scoffed, rolling her eyes. He laughed a little at her reaction, tossing the cigarette to the floor and leaning over to put it out into the cement of the floor. He could see Buffy; bend over towards his cards, out of the corner of his eye, as she switched one of her cards with his. “I saw that,” he said straightening his back. Her mouth fell open as she suppressed a laugh, throwing the rest of the cards up in the air.
“Fine! I’m done with this stupid game,” and the cards fell back down on top of them, some to the floor. Then she stretched back over to his cards, picking them up between her fingers and into the palm of her hand, throwing them into the air as well, where they crashed down on his head. He shook the cards off picking one from his cheek and flinging it back to the cot.
“Sore loser pet”, he alleged, looking over his shoulder at the cards that had fallen behind him.
Her breathing was faster, harder. He could feel it through his own veins, making it’s way through him, pounding in his eardrums. The Beatles ‘Here comes the sun,’ clanked through his head once again. The lyrics collided into him.
Spike had never been quite fond of The Beatles, although he respected their music for being so influential to the dynamic of every spectrum of sound after and during the sixties and seventies. He did believe ‘Abbey Road’ to be a particularly good album, which would explain his immediate obsession with ‘Here comes the sun,’ as it seemed to be playing out right before his eyes. “Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces”, he hummed, almost silently, but Buffy heard the soft whisper against his lips and it cradled to her ears.
“I’m not a sore loser,” She protested as his humming beat down to a low murmur. “Are you humming?” Buffy queried, bending over to pick up some cards that had fallen on the floor, in one fell sweep.
Spike let the song slither out of his head, somewhat embarrassed. “No,” he answered, following her lead and picking up a few cards from the floor and behind him, throwing them into the pile between them. Buffy muttered something about him under her breath and once he looked back over at her she shut her mouth. “What?” he asked, staring questioningly at her. He watched as she ran her tongue over her Lolita shaped lips that were the color of a burning pinkish red. He imagined they tasted still like her lip-gloss and orange juice, laced with small bits of alcohol even if he could no longer smell those things. The memory of them remained.
“And I’m the crazy one,” Buffy responded, grabbing the cards from between them and picked them up making a small mound in the palm of her hand. She bit into her lip and he could see flecks of skin turning a bright, crimson red where the blood would rush forth if she did not break her teeth away from the sensitive flesh. “You were so singing,” she purred, rolling her tongue against her cheek. He could see the pink of her mouth when she spoke, wanting to jerk his own tongue forward into what he considered to be paradise.
“Whatever you say Slayer,” Spike quipped, reaching his arm forward behind her to grab a card that was lying by her thigh. Buffy flinched a little, wondering about his movement. He felt her body ease backwards as he leaned forward. He flashed his eyes towards hers and there was something hidden within the pools of green he’d dreamt so often about in Africa. “Now what are you doing?” Spike asked, almost condescendingly of the way her voice had sounded every time she’d asked him the very same question, over and over again. He moved his body back again, with the card in his hand, showing it to Buffy who was blushing.
“Nothing,” she answered, yanking her body upwards, uncurling her back from where she had started to heave herself down when Spike’s body had leaned forward. Buffy wiped her face, trying to get rid of the redness she knew was erupting on her cheeks. Spike smirked realizing that the sexual tension he had been feeling was not unreciprocated. She lifted herself up on her knees, the fabric of her sweatpants making soft scratching noises against the cards beneath her.
He could see from the sun’s shadow of light that her lips were still dipped with gloss, glistening in the darkness. Buffy wasn’t sure what she was doing, rearranging her weight out of nervousness or simply just moving closer to him, wanting and needing the upper hand in whatever it was that was happening between them.
Spike, his eyes level with her chest, looked down and randomly but very sweetly pulled down her tank top around her waist, leaving her bellybutton unseen, hidden beneath the fabric of cotton and color of blue. Her eyelashes fluttered down to where his hand had fallen back into his lap and slunk her thighs back down on top of her calves.
In an instant Buffy’s hand traced his jaw, then ran against his lips where he’d set them closed tightly, seconds before. Her fingers were soft, curving around his bottom lip then down to his chin. Spike stared at her; the delicate way her skin had grown rosy instead of brightly flushed as before. She did still smell the way he’d imagined earlier, orange juice, alcohol, raspberries and the vanilla of what he presumed was her lip-gloss even though he had for some time let the scents commingle in his nostrils and on his skin. Their eyes locked, so completely and beautifully as they had the first time they’d kissed after months of un-quenching thirst for one another.
Spike’s gaze fell away from her eyes, apprehensively staring at how close their bodies were from one another, her heartbeat only inches away from his chest. Buffy brought his chin back up. Their eyes meeting, her lips separated to speak. “Don’t,” she whispered. “Look away,” and she rested her lips upon his, softly, tenderly, running her tongue over his bottom lip.
He closed his eyes feeling himself being lifted into a promise land. It was a fantasy he told himself, something he’d dreamt up and eventually he would awake and realize nothing had happened; that she had never been there, never found the Jack Daniels, never kissed him and he would be left devastated but no more than he would be if it were real and he awoke later to find her gone. It wasn’t a dream, he told himself, just something his mind still couldn’t comprehend.
Buffy pushed herself on top of him, his head hitting the edge of metal on the cot as he went down. He didn’t mind, didn’t utter a word of pain as her thighs buckled around his waist, lips still cemented on his chapped, brittle ones. He could feel their dryness evaporating with each lick of her tongue. The images of the spell they’d been under when they’d first kissed spun around in his mind, although the images were just slices of time, things he’d forgotten simply because they didn’t add up to the realness of everything afterwards. Like her, he remembered the first real kiss with his bruised and battered face.
Those kisses from Willow’s spell meant nothing. They weren’t real, just lips touching lips with no other meaning except the magic that had ensued. This was not a spell, as much as he’d imagined it was Buffy kissing him, again, slipping and guiding her tongue into his mouth so strongly that he was sure if he had any breath he would’ve choked on it. The coldness he was constantly cursed with was heated by her warm, blood-pumping humanness struggling above him in attempt to get nearer, to get inside him, which was impossible. Once his brain caught up to his movements he realized his hands were already unhooking her bra underneath the small tank top, instinctively.
Spike opened his eyes, blinking fast as she ran her tongue down from his chin to his neck, sucking delicately at first on his pale soft tissue then bit into him where she’d already bruised him earlier from teeth hitting skin. He moaned and she rapidly threw her hand over his mouth in a desperate attempt to keep their encounter separate from what was above them. He wanted to say, ‘I love you,’ but even after her hand left his mouth he didn’t dare utter the words. They were too real, too unlike the point they were at. Buffy knew he loved her. He didn’t have to say it no matter how much he desired to. The words lay thick between them; always, regardless of how unsaid they happened to be.
He moved his head away from the metal that was stiffening his neck and grasped her waist as he lifted his knees up. The bottom half of her body fell onto the cot still littered with playing cards. Her lips no longer positioned on his neck and as she lifted her head back up, their chins knocked roughly.
“Ow,” she muttered, sliding her fingers through her tussled hair.
Spike laughed, taking his right hand off her waist and coiling it under her chin, rubbed it with his thumb. Buffy kissed him kindly on the lips as if to tell him how sweet and kind he was, especially in a moment that was filled with so much anticipation that she could feel her body trembling.
Spike could feel it too and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, away from where it had been dangling in front of her striking green eyes. In a matter of minutes their biting and sucking of lips turned into something more tame but still wild with the potential that sex was about to turn into making love.
They lay still, staring at one another for some time, longingly. Buffy then lifted her abdomen up and jerked the bottom of her tank top over her shoulders and head, dropping it to the ground below them. It made a swooshing noise.
Everything that happened next seemed to flow in slow motion through Spike’s eyes, manifesting in a flight of imaginary proportions. She lunged into him, gracefully. Her warm chest collapsed against his chilly naked one; lips mingled on each other’s before they let their tongues dive forward to the others in the open air then shut their lips together, like a lock and key.
He tasted like cigarettes, alcohol and even the orange juice she’d drank earlier. If she closed her eyes tight enough they were anywhere but in the basement, where she’d once found a dead cat, a flood and a forlorn chained up Spike. They could’ve been at a beach in Tahiti, a hotel room in Paris, dancing at The Plaza in New York, anywhere but the cold, shadowy cellar of a room. She’d never mentioned the dreams she sometimes had of them in different places, acting normal, like a couple that had no real problems aside from what movie to watch on a Saturday night, or who was going to make the coffee in the morning.
As much as she tried to deny the part of her that wanted something that resembled a kosher looking life, she did want pieces of something that was considered normal. Not twisted, not a girl who could be in love with a vampire but she was that girl and no matter how much she tried to force herself away from that aspect of her emotional core it was true. The things she’d hated about herself for so long, Spike had fought to make beautiful, to make real and she’d detested him for it. Buffy even had gone as far to beat him up for it in an attempt to rid herself of all her demons, he, being one of them. She couldn’t get rid of him, not even now, not even with a soul that still blocked her with confusion as to who he really was, she couldn’t let go of him. He was a part of her through the good and bad. The part of her that was Spike remained, always in tact.
Spike was the only man in her life who never treated her like a child. He was always fully aware of what type of woman she was capable of being. Although at first his attraction to her rendered disgust on her part, it eventually grew to intrigue. Buffy blamed him for so long for not having a soul, for being inhuman and incapable of feeling love the way she could. He would never be Angel, she always thought and tested him; breaking Spike apart in order to beat his psyche down further. She was cruel because it was the only way she knew how to keep herself from actually loving him, from seeing that without a soul he was still a better man than she’d anticipated him to be all those years ago.
If there was anything Buffy knew about love it was that you couldn’t really love someone if you didn’t truly accept the person. She was too young to know that with Angel and too desperate with Riley to understand that concept, but with Spike it had become unmistakable. Spike could be a better man. Spike could run off to Africa and get a soul because he needed her to accept him and with time she had, with time she’d forgiven him and with time she’d come to realize what it was really like to care for someone, to love someone without being in love completely, without giving herself away to the fullest extent. Not that she’d ever really been capable of giving herself away completely.
Their lips broke apart for a brief second while she opened her eyes and then smacked her lips back into his. The noise of the cot creaked underneath them and Buffy slid her chest away from his, kissing him softly before she started to unbutton and unzip his jeans. He moved his head upwards while watching her fingers ease his pants open and in perfect motion he lifted his backside up, letting her slip the jeans right off him.
Spike leaned forward, spreading his legs apart, feet landing on the floor where Buffy stood on the cold, dreary cement. In the shadows their nervousness melted away, breaking into the soft pieces of their hearts that had already been broken. He skimmed her sweatpants off with particular ease. Buffy stepped out of them gracefully, standing on her tiptoes like the dancer he’d always imagined she could’ve been if she’d been born anything else but a slayer.
The words, ‘I want you’ never came but they held no real value in the open air. Body language spoke volumes. Spike guided his hands up her back, pulling her down on top of him where he glided into her, gasping for the breath he didn’t have. Buffy looked at him intently, crazily, having wanted nothing more than for this moment to happen again, for him to be inside her and her on top of him, like some tainted dream she could never get out of her head. Her lips plummeted onto his desperately.
Buffy felt battered and broken from the war she was waging that was about to play out on the hellmouth; when and how she still wasn’t sure. Her psyche was damaged and every uplifting part of her was dying off bit by bit. Her dreams had become nightmares and she’d lost the real feel for sleep even the need for it. The only thing she could feel now was Spike, within her, beneath her and it seemed ironic that everything she’d heard in the past few months had been about power or something beneath her. She didn’t feel powerful now, just weak, smitten with a ghost, with a dead body that pumped what it could just for her. A long time ago the feeling of weakness never would’ve tripped over her if he walked into a room but something had happened between them. It was more than just his soul. She’d begun to fall for the man, deep inside, fighting his way out.
The version of their lives they’d been hiding from disappeared, nothing could be heard but the sound of their kisses and the pounding of her heart that beat extra spaces of time for his cold, unmoving one. Spike threw his back down, bringing her with him while her hips grinded rapidly on top of him, seething pleasure through both of them. There were brief moments where their intercourse, especially when Buffy made eye contact with Spike, biting into his lip where he thought they were doing anything but having sex, where it felt more like making love. He could never be sure. Spike had done things with her he still couldn’t articulate, the night and now morning being one of them. They’d spent time together before in large quantities but nothing of what he’d experienced for the first time when she walked down the stairs, fell onto the cot and acted as if they were just normal, behaving as friends.
In an essence of artistry they erupted together. He could feel her pulse as he held onto her wrist, bringing her lips closer to his face while her elbow gave way and clanked to the surface of the makeshift bed. She respired deeply, painful breaths onto his skin. Her body was warm and the sweat that dripped from both of them, made a pool on his stomach. She didn’t bother pulling herself up right away, letting the part of him that had reached inside of her stay there for the time being.
Buffy rested the right side of her face in the nape of his neck, leaving small kisses where she had drawn a soft trail of blood with her teeth during climax. Spike had felt no pain, only ecstasy washing through him. He closed his eyes, wrapping his arms around her in a protective manner that instilled the feeling of safety for Buffy. She drew ‘I love you’ on his chest with her pointer finger, knowing his eyes were closed but still wondered if he could make out the pattern of words just with her motions. Her hand fell onto his sweat stained, muscled chest and Buffy suddenly wondered if in another universe they had met, fallen in love and stayed together if their alter egos would’ve suffered so much.
“Spike,” she whispered, leaning her elbows up then fingers bent onto the cot. His eyes opened, eyelashes fluttering. Spike let one arm drop from her waist and flung it behind his head, hoisting upwards. He mumbled a little, quite softly. “I wonder…” but she stopped her contemplation, realizing how incredibly cheesy she would sound, so unlike herself. “Forget it,” Buffy smiled, bitterly throwing her head back.
“What?” Spike questioned, feeling the strands of her hair that were left on his chest dance around with every small movement she made. Buffy didn’t respond, stirring her body up and easily moving herself off him and looked around for her clothes, timidly. He stared at her unclothed form in the shadows. The way the curves of her waist fell perfectly in time to the dip of the small of her back. Helen of Troy had nothing on Buffy of Sunnydale, he thought. Spike fidgeted on the garage sale bed of fabric and metal, slamming his feet to the ground while picking up his jeans.
Buffy was silent, not answering him, just breathing deeply as she dressed herself back in the gray sweatpants and applied the pastel blue, skinny top to the upper half of her frame, without bothering to put her bra back on, leaving it alone on the floor near her bare feet. Her white socks lay across from the bra where she’d thrown them during the second game of spit.
Once Buffy finished dressing herself she ran her fingers through her knotted hair, cringing at every pull of the scalp. She turned her back away from Spike facing his semi clothed self, legs wrapped in light denim jeans. He wasn’t looking at her, just down at his thighs and she contemplated asking him what it was, what he was thinking but her desire to know was small, unlike anything that burned deeply inside of her so she stayed hushed.
He lifted his head, drawing it back against the wall when she set down beside him. He licked his lips, the taste of her still slept there. “What is this?” he asked, the palm of his hands resting on his jeans.
Buffy glanced over at him, not sure of what he meant. She raised her eyebrows. “Um, you’re jeans,” she answered nodding her head.
Spike laughed, bitterly. His feelings were in some sort of contempt rage, hiding behind the surface. “I mean this, Buffy… what we just did,” he said hoping she would understand what he was trying to say without breaking his heart even if the heart was dead, lifeless.
It was a figure of speech, the breaking of the heart as if a real-life heart could be more broken than a person’s psyche. It was the soul that felt more than the heart. The heart was just a mechanism against the soul. It was his mind and his newfound soul that loved her. Those were the parts of him that could be broken by any swift motion of words on her part.
Buffy sighed, feeling out of place. She kicked her legs out in front of her and swung them up, away from the floor. “Do we really have to…” she paused staring up at the ceiling, then over at the tiny window where she could hear the faint sound of birds chirping. “I don’t know,” she responded, feeling that it was the only way to really answer his attentive question. This was something she didn’t understand, yet. Not yet.
She let her hand grasp onto the gaps in between his fingers that still relaxed on his thigh and the heat that she had provided his body through his internal clench of her no longer inhabited him. The touch she now left on his skin lit him silently on fire. He felt a clawing of emotions. Words unsaid were drinking up his timid blood and making him faint. He clung onto her fingers, turning his palm up, combining their fingers like a quilted pattern of yarn, fitting together so perfectly that when Buffy looked down she drew in a breath before tears fell down her cheeks.
Spike could hear her sobs, shaking her arms and creating a chill in the air around them. He could see her free hand rubbing at the saline that fell down her cheeks and let go of her hand, leaving her reaching for his other. He wrapped his arm around her and she fell into him, their bodies forming to fit against each other. Buffy’s head rested on his chest as she dug her still broken fingernails into his other hand. He placed his lips forward then down and kissed the top of her head. She smiled, faintly through the mess of tears.
Spike gazed over at the window where he too could hear the birds chirping but a smile didn’t come for him, just the underlying fear that had been threading a line all throughout his stomach making him nauseous. How does he give this up? How does he let her leave when the house awakes and their dreamland is disturbed by the reality of the lives they lead? These were are all valid questions that menaced around his head, making it incredibly hard to enjoy the fact that Buffy was falling asleep within his grasp. Nothing seemed peaceful anymore, just broken and shattered on the threshold of more despair. Happiness was fleeting and everything else was more real than he’d like to know.
He closed his eyes and obscurity ensued.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/84529.html